Asset finance leasing - XL Business finance

Trade finance explained

February 16th, 2011

Trade finance provides the ability for a business to purchase wholesale goods on credit awaiting sale of the goods and therefore payment from the end user. There are several  types of trade finance and this article tries to explain the differences which should help you decide which product or type of business is best for your business.

Firstly traditional high street banks provide trade finance based on the strength and performance of the business. We call this balance sheet lending and is based purely on the profitability and track record of your business It is more often than not nothing to do with the value of the goods you are purchasing and the security that they offer.

Secondly certain factoring and invoice discounting companies provide trade finance facilities on the back of an invoice finance facility however the goods in this instance must be pre sold. For example if you were inmporting Plasma TVs from China and you had an order from Costco for example it might be possible to obtain a complete funding solution. The factoring company will provide you with an import facility to purchase the TVs. On delivery of the TVs to cost and on raising an invoice a factoring facility will provide a further funding facility until Costco pay within the terms of the invoice. As factoring will only fund 80% of the end invoice the mark up on the imported goods must be at least 20% otherwise the invoice finance facility will not repay the trade facility.

How to obtain construction finance

February 15th, 2011

Many construction companies are prevented from obtaining traditional bank and invoice finance due to the contractual nature of their work. Mention contracts to 99% of the the UKs based factoring and invoice discounting companies and they will run a mile.

Banks may provide overdraft facilities based on the strength of the business and the available security. Traditionally banks are secure overdraft borrowings  against bricks and mortar. Therefore the size of any available facility is limited by the value of the available security. More often than not this is not enough for a construction finance to obtain adequate working capital.

The good news is that there are a couple of of bespoke funding facilities that provide funding against contractual debts. The products vary from funder to funder and the level of funding available depends on the nature of your business and the the contracts that you have in place. Funding can be approved on  application rather than approved application depending upon the finance company involved. Some of the finance companies even have their own in house quantative surveyors to make sure that the amount of the application is realistic in terms of the work undertaken to date. The percentage of the prepayment will again vary depending on the nature of the business and the contracts. Whilst 80% funding is not realist on average funding between 50-60% of the outstanding debtor book is more realistic.

Are there alternatives to banks for large invoice discounting lines?

February 11th, 2011

In  our opinion yes. The problem with banks is that they blow hot and cold. They might do some fantastic invoice discounting deals in the good times however as soon as it starts raining they more often than not want their umbrellas back. A customer requiring a large facility of say two or three million may find themselves with restricted credit if their is any change in their performance.

We have seen this recently with very strong businesses that have seen profits drop but for positive reasons such as investment in new equipment and premises. The fact is the banks don’t always like to see a drop in performance irrespective of the reasons. Comined with restructuring and merging with the high street big banks you will find a very erratic approach to their lending criteria and possible clipping of facilities.

The good news is that there are alternatives to the high street banks. During the good old days, the recession and now the slow recovery these alternatives have always taken a consistent approach to their lending criteria. These are specialist invoice discounting companies , whilst funded by big lessor known merchant banks have their own autonomy and there is enough variety to cove most situations. A £3.0m facility is a drop in the ocean for a couple of these funders. At £3.0m plus even some of the high street banks might start getting a bit jittery. It appears that the banks want to collect as much money in at the moment rather than lend it out.

Can I obtain Stocking Finance

February 9th, 2011

The answer ( as with anything ) is MAYBE! Stocking Finance traditionally is an add on to a factoring or invoice discounting facility. It is sometimes possible to obtain funding in the form of a stand alone facility from an independent trade finance company and of course for the right sort of customer it is possible to obtain funding via your own bank. The following article will hopefully give you an idea as to where your business sits in terms of funding options.

Traditional bank funding as with most facilities is provided for own bank customers and is based on the trading performance of the business. A business that has been trading for at least three years, is extremely profitable, has a strong balance sheet and possible has tangible security will have a good chance obtaining funding from the high street banks. As with any finance product not all banks will offer stocking facilities and the product will vary from bank to bank. A good independent finance broker will be able to point you in the right direction.

Stocking on the back of a factoring or invoice discounting facility is slightly different. A business that is buying high value goods which can be easily disposed off maybe able to obtain funding irrelevant as to their trading history. For example non perishable items such as TVs which are being imported for a third of what they are being sold for will be more easily fundable than frozen fish for example. Whilst all factoring and invoice companies offer stocking facilities there are only a couple that offer a true revolving stocking facility. Certain funders offer an increase in facility to provide funding up to a 100% of the debtor book however this is done so on a short term basis. This overpayment secured against stock will be repaid back over a 12 month period.

Cash Flow Loans Explained

February 8th, 2011

There are many types of cash flow loans available to commercial businesses however we thought it might be worth explaining the different options. A cash flow loan in the traditional sense is a loan from a bank based on the performance of the business. Rather than securing the loan against bricks and mortar a multiple of the profitability is lent to the customer. These types of loans reached their peak in the run up to the credit crunch however are only starting to make somewhat of a recovery.

Whilst factoring , invoice discounting and even bank overdrafts are a form of cash flow loan they are different in that they are secured by other means. Factoring and invoice discounting facilities are secured against the debtor book and overdrafts are more often than not secured against bricks and mortar and even personal guarantees. Obviously it is possible to obtain a bank overdraft without security however you will probably know only token overdrafts are available from most banks without the benefit of tangible security

Cash flow lending was very prevalent in the acquisitions and mergers market  where significant sums were required to purchase a profitable business however there was very little security in terms of  property, findable debtor book or plant and machinery. A traditional asset based lender will lend cash against some all all of these tangible assets.

As with any financial institution the parameters for cash flow lending will vary greatly. An experienced commercial finance broker will have their finger on the pulse and will be able to help you find the most appropriate finance company. Don’t get too excited because we believe that this is still the most difficult area for funding and it will take time before the banks fully regain their confidence in this sector

Commercial Mortgages Explained

February 7th, 2011

Commercial Mortgages are probably still one of the hardest business finance product to obtain. The following article explains why you can longer rely on the value of the property to obtain funding.

 Gone are the days when you could get funding at 70-80% of the valuation without having to go through the in and outs of a ducks whats it. Nowadays it is all best of serviceability,cash flow and the quality of the tenant. By tenant we mean the business that is in situ and who ultimately will be paying the mortgage. The tenant could be the owner of the property or the lessee if the owner is sub leasing.

 In the current economic climate commercial mortage lenders will only lend up to 70% providing serviceability is undoubted. If not they will lend up to a max of 70% but do some calculations based on profitability. We have seen many instances where a property has been valued at £1.0m plus however the  serviceability has been an issue and funding was only achievable at 40% of the value.

Commercial mortgage lending is no different from any other type of lending. There will always be slight variations throughout the market. In addition different banks blow hot and cold in terms of their appetite for different sectors and industries. Different banks and commercial mortgage lenders do things is slightly different ways and as such it is worth speaking with a commercial mortgage broker who knows the market inside out. In addition they  can collate all the right information that the different lenders require saving you valuable time and money.

Print Refinance and Factoring Package

February 4th, 2011

Chad Monsirrims continues to look for a serial number following a refinance package and provision of a new factoring facility for a Manchester based print company

A Manchester print finance company needed to restructure their finances following an accumulation of VAT and PAYE arrears totalling approx £35k. Their existing Komri printing press had only 18 months to go with their existing funder. XL Business finance was able to refinance the machine and provide enough money to repay the existing leasing company , pay the VAT and PAYE arrears and also provide a surplus for additional working capital. Happy days.

In addition the business switched to a more flexible factoring company to provide additional working capital. The printers existing bank were severely restricting cash flow due to a difficult trading period, hence the crown arrears. A change in factoring company and the refinance of the existing press gave the business a new lease of life.

At one point the company was considering injecting personal cash secured against the press. Whilst this seems a good idea , obtaining title in a refinance situation can present many pitfalls. If the documentation was not completed correctly it may be possible that they could be accused of selling the press under preferential terms resulting in the transaction being null and void. It would also been imperititive that the customer got the right supporting documentation. If you do not get debenture waivers , proof of title etc it may be possible that a transaction be deemed null and void in the event of an insolvency. A specialist refinance company ensures that all this is correctly boxed off and that there can be no repercussions down the line.

Refinance printing Machine

February 4th, 2011

XL Business Finance associate Chad Monsirrims checks a serial number following another successful refinance

Credit Insurance explained

February 3rd, 2011

It is widely believed that credit insurance can only be obtained on the back of a factoring or invoice discounting facility. This is not necessarily the case and it might be that you can obtain a better deal from an independent company. You may also wonder why one invoice finance company can insure one of your customers but not another. Hopefully this article will explain some of the misconceptions.

Any business can go to a specialist insurance company to obtain credit insurance. The broker will go to the various insurance companies and obtain a packaged policy from the best insurance company. There are a number of fundamental differences which may work in your favour.

Firstly credit insurance companies provided by the banks and the factoring and invoice discounting companies only kick in in the event of an insolvency situation. It is indeed possible to obtain credit insurance that kicks in in the event of a protracted claim. As far as we are aware we there is only one invoice discounting company that provides credit insurance in the event of a protracted dispute. Call me cynical but does anyone else think that factoring companies allow debtors to exceed 90 days so they can.

Secondly factoring and invoice discounting companies  charge against the gross ledger as opposed to the net ledger which is possible to do via the correct means.

Thirdly once a debt has exceed 60 days over the normal credit terms the insurance provider will chase the debt on your behalf provided. It doesn’t matter if if your factoring company is supposed to be doing it. two so to speak is better than one

It also possible to get credit insurance for export debt as well

You may also wonder why one factoring company can insure a debt another factoring company cannot..

Factoring Finance explained

February 2nd, 2011

Factoring is simply the ability of a business to raise cash against unpaid invoices. Typically 80 % funding can be obtained however depending on a businesses personal circumstances a higher payment or even a lower prepayment may be available.

Unlike invoice discounting factoring is provided on a disclosed basis which means that your customers are aware you are factoring your invoices. In fact you will add to your invoice a clause asking that payment for the invoice is paid direct to the finance company. Upon receipt the finance company will pay the remaining 20% due to you less their interest charges and fee for running the account.

Factoring can also provide full credit control leaving you free to run your business instead of worrying about chasing your customers for payment. It is important to remember that factoring is a value added product and is not just about providing a cash flow facility. What is the use of having the cheapest funder in town if at the end of the day they are hopeless at collecting your unpaid invoices. This is where a good independent factoring broker can add value to the decision of choosing the right funder

There  are many criteria that you should consider when choosing the correct factoring company for your business. If you are a new start business there are finance companies that are geared up specifically for this purpose. Also your geographic location should have a significant bearing on your decision as some of the smaller independent that can provide a n excellent service but  are very much locally based. also the nature of your business and the type and quality of your debtor book will also have a bearing on your final choice of factoring company.

There are plenty of companies to choose from and as such a good impartial view point will have alot of time and potential future heartache!

 
 
 

XL Business Finance Ltd is a privately owned and independent business financing company with established links to many of the UK's leading finance houses. XL Business Finance provides a viable alternative to high street banks that lack the flexibility and imagination to provide a solution to most business users requirements. XL Business Finance can provide a full range of business financing solutions and we ensure a high level of customer service and pride ourselves on quick decisions. Our independent status will ensure any offer of funding and asset finance leasing is best suited to our customer’s needs.

XL Business Finance, Eaton Place Business Centre, 114 Washway Road, Sale, Cheshire M33 7RF UK.

 

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