Press release

New $50 million finance facility to help small businesses export to Russia

UK Export Finance (UKEF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Russian-based bank, Alfa Bank, to help British firms looking to export to Russia.

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The MOU was signed during the two-day trade visit to Russia led by Business Secretary Vince Cable, and comes as the Government launches its ‘Exporting is GREAT’ campaign. The MOU sets out UKEF’s and Alfa Bank’s intention to establish a $50 million facility which will provide financing for UK export contracts and is particularly geared towards exports to Russia by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Britain.

The proposed facility is set to be the first under the umbrella of UKEF’s Direct Lending Scheme. It will enable UKEF to provide funding to Alfa Bank, for them to make medium-term loans to Russian businesses buying goods and services from UK exporters. The $50 million facility will be available for export contracts over £1 million.

Trade Minister Lord Green said:

Our exports to Russia have nearly tripled since 2002 and it is set to be the largest market for UK goods exports outside of the US, the EU and China. Today’s trade delegation aims to identify and secure further opportunities for UK exporters.

Making it easier for British firms to export must be a priority for rebalancing the economy. But exporting is not just for big corporates or the tech sector, and that is why we have launched the new ‘Exporting is GREAT campaign’, focused specifically on small and medium-sized businesses.

Head of Project Marketing at UK Export Finance, John Snowdon said:

This facility offers UK companies the opportunity to expand into Russia by ensuring Russian buyers are able to access competitive financing to pay for UK goods and services. The parameters of the facility are set to target finance at contracts between £1m and £25m.

Notes to editors:

  1. Under the approach proposed in the MOU, UK Export Finance (UKEF) and Alfa Bank would work together to identify eligible Russian buyers where support could secure export contracts for UK companies in order to boost the level of UK exports to the Russian Federation. UKEF and Alfa Bank would engage with trade associations and chambers of commerce in both countries to ensure UK companies and Russian buyers were aware of the opportunities available to them under this facility. If the proposed approach proves to be successful, UKEF would be prepared to consider increasing the facility and applying the technique more widely to support UK exports in other high priority markets.

  2. UK Export Finance is the UK’s export credit agency. It complements the private market by providing assistance to UK businesses, principally in the form of insurance to exporters and guarantees to banks. In doing so, it works with exporters, banks and project sponsors to support UK exports to, and investments in, markets across the world.

  3. The Alfa Banking Group is headquartered in Moscow, Russia, with branch network across Russia and abroad, including in the Netherlands, the United States and the United Kingdom. It is a leading private bank in Russia, with over 82,000 corporate customers and 8.9 million retail clients at the end of 2012.

  4. The Prime Minister launched the government’s ‘Exporting for Growth’ challenge last year and the government has now set an ambitious goal to increase exports to £1 trillion per annum by 2020.

  5. For more information on UKEF products and services contact one of its network of Regional Export Advisers. Or alternatively contact:

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Published 13 November 2013