Active Apparel Group

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When Active Apparel Group identified a pivot opportunity to make reusable face masks, we provided the working capital they needed to get started.

Active Apparel Group (AAG) manufactures and exports high quality leisurewear, sportswear, swimwear and activewear from its WRAP-certified factories in China.

With the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in China, AAG had to temporarily close its factories. When it resumed operations in late March, management employed extra staff to fulfil their back orders.

“Our customers in the United States then started to reduce their orders, because their businesses had started to shut,” said Daniel Hawker, AAG’s Co-Chief Executive Officer.  “We were left with a significant amount of spare capacity.”

AAG identified a pivot opportunity to manufacture and export non-medical grade reusable face masks to buyers in the US. Paul McCloskey, President, explained that demand for the facemasks was immediate, so they needed to act quickly and approach us for finance.

AAG responded with a global co-ordination of their manufacturing team focusing on the product development, global sales team securing the sales opportunities and their head office team working closely with Export Finance Australia to support the funding need, It was group wide focus to meet the strategic pivot in a very short period of time.

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Finance to retain talent

AAG worked with Export Finance Australia previously, and our Business Development Director, Adam Pearce, had kept in touch with them throughout this challenging period. So AAG knew they could approach us about financing the working capital requirements of their rapid strategic pivot.

Adam helped AAG apply for finance through our COVID-19 Export Capital Facility. This facility enables us to support businesses in trade-exposed sectors through the COVID-19 crisis, with finance to continue and even grow their operations.

“Adam's been amazing and very proactive in trying to understand the impacts and working with us with really logical solutions,” said Daniel. “He looked at how to tailor the facility to meet our circumstances and come up with the right solution for us.”

We were able to finance the front end of AAG’s working capital cycle, allowing them to meet tight timeframes to manufacture and export the masks. The boost in working capital also helped AAG to manage the freight costs that had escalated significantly due to COVID-19.

This pivot opportunity enabled AAG to avoid closing their factories again, and it also meant they could minimise their staff reductions.

“The welfare of our staff is paramount to us – and Export Finance Australia’s support has meant we could retain our talent and maintain business continuity.” Daniel Hawker, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Active Apparel Group.