The platform will provide flexible short-term funding for small-to-medium sized enterprises

The platform will provide flexible short-term funding for small-to-medium sized enterprises

A US$300m international trade finance platform has been launched with the aim of helping global suppliers, including those in the apparel and footwear sectors, to access and service buyers of their products in developed markets. 

The platform, launched by UK-based trade finance provider Stenn International, will acquire up to 120-day trade receivables from small-to-medium enterprises, particularly in China and Southeast Asia, who produce and export goods for sale to US, European and other global buyers. 

Capital for the platform is being provided by Stenn and Crayhill Capital Management, a New York-based alternative asset management firm. Stenn's customers are primarily engaged in the production of consumer goods such as apparel, shoes, home goods, hardware and electronics for importers, leading retailers and Fortune 500 corporations. 

Stenn says access to flexible short-term funding is essential for these suppliers, who need working capital to finance orders bound for global markets until payment is received from their buyers. The new scheme offers payment for goods immediately after shipment, eliminating the delay and uncertainly of payment collections from buyers.

"There is a real lack of financing options for Asian exporters, and this inefficiency can be a burden for buyers in developed markets," says Stenn CEO, Walter Colebatch.

"Retailers and importers are less willing to tie up their own capital in providing letters of credit to smaller suppliers. This had, until now, left the manufacturers with few viable financing options to support their growth and participation in the global supply chain. This new platform is a further step forward in enabling Stenn to address those market needs."

Stenn, which has offices in London and Singapore, and expects to open offices in Hong Kong and New York in the coming months, has a track record of originating, financing and managing over $12bn in receivables for companies in emerging markets. 

Greg Karpovsky, executive chairman, adds: "Our new $300m platform will help Stenn achieve a critical goal: becoming the first choice for funding among SME exporters in Asia who wish to serve the global market for consumer goods. We are filling a market niche that has largely been abandoned by banks, which are retreating from financing smaller manufacturers in emerging markets due to rising regulatory capital costs and more onerous compliance requirements."

Earlier this month, German sportswear brand Puma launched new supply chain programme offering financial incentives to help its suppliers improve environmental, health and safety and social standards.

Under the scheme, developed in collaboration with French banking giant BNP Paribas, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and IT platform provider GT Nexus, supplier invoices will be discounted based on Puma's credit standing and their score in Puma's rating system.

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