Case study

SME consortium builds hospitals in Ghana with UKEF support

NMS International leads task force of UK small and medium-sized firms building seven hospitals in Ghana, thanks to a buyer loan guarantee from UK Export Finance.

A hospital being built in Ghana

When NMS International sought to undertake an ambitious project to construct seven district hospitals in Ghana, it asked UK Export Finance (UKEF) to guarantee a loan to the Ghanaian Ministry of Health. This support meant the company was able to offer a competitive finance package to the Ghanaians while being paid up front, allowing it bring a consortium of small UK firms to the project. The project was cited as a ‘deal of the year’ by three respected trade publications.

Complex infrastructure

NMS International Group is a UK small business with its headquarters in Leicestershire, specialising in managing complex infrastructure projects, primarily in Africa and the Middle East. In 2012, the firm won a US$175 million (£134.1m) contract to design, build and equip seven district hospitals in Ghana thanks to a bank loan to the Ghanaian Ministry of Health supported by UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency.

The buyer credit facility was arranged by Barclays Bank and 100% covered by UKEF. In cases such as this the agency can guarantee loans to overseas buyers of UK goods and services where the private market needs support, or offer its own loans to buyers directly.

Unified force

NMS Infrastructure Limited is now leading a consortium of some 50 UK‑based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to deliver the project including architects, logistics specialists and engineering and medical equipment firms, working alongside Ghanaian workers and companies. The contract represented a significant boost in business for many of these suppliers, showing how UKEF’s backing for exporters can help many other companies indirectly, with benefits passing down the supply chain.

Everyone benefits from this approach – the customer, UK SMEs and UK exports.

We now manage a skilled Ghanaian construction workforce of more than 1,100 people. With the momentum established by this project, NMS is beginning to win more business across the sub-Saharan region, in multiple countries and multiple locations.

The project has been transformational for NMS, and would not have been possible without UKEF support.

Frederik Hsu, NMS Group Deputy Chairman

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Published 21 July 2015