Export Credit Norway disbursed new loans totaling NOK 5.2 billion (Q4 2018: NOK 474 million) and signed new loan agreements valued at NOK 1.5 billion (NOK 2.2 billion) in the fourth quarter. The number of applications during the quarter was also positive, and the company received a total of 104 loan applications (81), representing a total application volume of NOK 43.7 billion (NOK 23.6 billion). A total of 58 % of the loan applications came from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which is a high priority area for Export Credit Norway.
“Q4 was in fact a record quarter for the company when you consider the number of applications received from SMEs, which is very pleasing. Norway needs more exporters, and we need more SMEs to be able to pursue commercialization, scaling and internationalization. Both the financing and financing advice can play a key role here,” says Otto Søberg, CEO of Export Credit Norway.
Export Credit Norway possesses specific and general advisory competencies that these businesses can benefit from when looking to increase their sales on the international market. Over time the company has found that SMEs often need more sales support and guidance than larger, more well-established enterprises.
“Our experience is that a general export-financing solution for these businesses and advice linked to export activities are clearly interrelated. We are in the ideal position to help and actively share our knowledge and experience with these businesses. This is in line with our desire to boost export opportunities for SMEs,” says Otto Søberg.
Export Credit Norway disbursed new loans totaling NOK 11.4 billion in 2019 (2018: NOK 2.9 billion) and signed new loan agreements valued at NOK 7.9 billion (2018: NOK 4.9 billion). The latter are expected to be disbursed over the next few years. As at 31 December 2019, the company’s lending balance amounted to NOK 65.0 billion (NOK 61.2 billion).
The increase in disbursement volume is primarily linked to shipping, with Norwegian shipyards delivering completed cruise ships, as well as oil and gas equipment. Growth in the Norwegian economy in recent years has resulted in higher activity levels, and a number of segments are developing positively.
“We have observed high activity levels in 2019, with both the volume of disbursed loans and signed loan agreements being considerably higher than in 2018. Positive development is gratifying, but future growth estimates are uncertain. More exporters are experiencing a tough start to 2020, and there is great uncertainty about what sort of impact the coronavirus outbreak will have. No matter what happens, we will do all we can to support exporters moving forward – by being a predictable and competitive financing-partner,” says Otto Søberg.
Export Credit Norway is also still reporting strong interest in the ship financing solution, which enables it to finance vessels built by Norwegian shipyards for Norwegian shipping companies, even when the vessel is not destined for foreign trade or generates revenue in the offshore sector. As at 31 December 2019, the company had received a total of 50 applications under the solution, with a total value of NOK 11.0 billion.
“We are seeing continued strong interest in the ship financing solution despite Norwegian shipyards reporting a weaker order inflow in 2019. Application numbers remain high, with the primary vessel types thus far being fishing boats, wellboats and ferries. The solution is a temporary measure that will be evaluated in 2020, but our impression is that both Norwegian shipping companies and shipyards appreciate and value the scheme. We feel that the solution can play a key role in securing a contract for a Norwegian shipyard,” says Otto Søberg.
As at 31 December 2019, Export Credit Norway was administering a lending balance of NOK 65.0 billion. As of the same date, 72 % of Export Credit Norway’s lending portfolio was guaranteed by the Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency (GIEK). The remaining 28 % was guaranteed by Norwegian banks (14 %) and foreign banks (14 %).
Published 23. Mar 2020