stated Ing. Lubomir Pokorny, MBA, the General Director of the CEB; 15th September 2008 (Prosperita) - Export financing is the category, concerning which there was a lot of talk between companies during the past decade. Discussions become appreciations, because in this field there were and are a lot of changes. Specific products, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, become more accessible, more understandable. After all entrepreneurs are still not completely satisfied – the Czech Export Bank knows it and wants to deal with it. The fact that its current moves towards the smaller exporters were clearly successful, was suggested in an interview for our magazine by Ing. Lubomir Pokorny, MBA, General Director of the Czech Export Bank:
The Czech Export Bank, in the past two years, has achieved interesting results. Could you comment on the most significant ones?
The results of the CEB can be regarded as extremely positive in both the commercial and financial sphere. Loan and guarantee agreements, signed in 2007, in the total amount of 19.4 billion CZK, represent the third highest annual volume of contracts signed in the history of CEB’s activities; the overall status of loans during 2007 compared with the end of 2006 increased by 33.7% (i.e. from 17.8 billion CZK to 23.8 billion CZK). Our half-yearly results create the conditions for this year to be comparable to the last one, from the perspective of the bank.
To which territories does the bank go with Czech exporters the most frequently?
While 85% of Czech exports – so far – target the developed economies of the EU, the CEB finances mainly the remaining 15%. Expressed at a glance, geographically, then Russia, Georgia, CIS, China, Turkey, Vietnam, Pakistan, Mongolia, the Balkans and other countries. Considering the expected tempo of the growth of national economies, the potential for the Czech outlets is directly here.
Czech companies and China, India, Vietnam, Russia and the former Soviet Union states. Where do you help the most with funding?
As I have already said in my answer to the previous question, it is specifically to these developing economies, to which the majority of exports and investment supported by the Czech Export Bank is directed. The markets of Russia, Georgia, the CIS countries and Asian countries constitute about 86% of the credit portfolio of the bank. And the interest of Czech companies is growing and objectively it will continue to grow. The CEB does everything to be ready for this situation.
Need for support for medium-sized companies, which are just getting involved with exports, for example through CzechTrade, are growing. How do you deal strategically with this requirement?
It is not insignificant that we have always opened the door for them, even when it concerns just a consultation regarding their intentions and territories. Thanks to cooperation with CzechTrade and the Chamber of Commerce of the Czech Republic, we are able to provide this basic information also in the regions of the Czech Republic, where we have been testing a network of Regional Export Points and we will seek for other forms of effective assistance for local firms. We are aware of the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises as a draft-horse of the economy and we want to get even closer to this segment. In the year 2007, the loans provided to these clients constituted in the order 5 billion crowns.
You have two products for SMEs - the funding of production intended for export and both short-and long-term financing of exports. How is this carried out in practice?
With what can and must the businessman count?
Without wishing - or we could compromise every part of the basic requirement for prudent business and objective evaluation of all risks, we want to create a product, which will be administratively, and in its approval procedure more accessible to the segment of small and medium-sized enterprises. This aim we intend to meet within a matter of months. Recently we signed an agreement with EGAP which, in brief, means mutual recognition of the risk analysis of clients, and thereby speeding up and simplification of the handling of their requests.
What have you learned on the basis of the requirements for domestic entrepreneurs?
With some exaggeration, it could perhaps be said that the world is even more colourful than we can imagine. And fortunately, that Czech companies are still finding new fields of activities both in nomenclature and territorially. I hope we manage to keep pace with them. That there are no simple business transactions, we have known for a long time.
Are the majority of projects “tailored”?
Definitely. Off-the-rack clothing is not fashionable in exports financing. And he who has the financing tailored at the Czech Export Bank, will have a greater chance of success in the competition and obtains a contract.