Three Australian exporters succeeding overseas
Andrew Watson, Executive Director, Export Finance, Export Finance Australia
There’s no doubt that exporting can help small and medium-sized companies expand their business, diversify their revenue and increase their profits.
However, what we find exciting about working with lots of exporters across different industries is hearing their individual export journeys.
How they started, the challenges they faced, what they struggled with, their first export contract – each has a unique story to tell.
It’s really inspiring to see their passion and commitment to their business, often over long periods of time.
Here are three Australian exporters that we’re very proud to have helped achieve export success recently:
Worldpoly: a family business taking on the world
Worldpoly, based in Victoria, is a specialist manufacturer of polyethylene pipe butt welding equipment.
This equipment is designed to align two lengths of polyethylene pipe, heat them and then force them together, creating a joint that is intended to last 100 years. Worldpoly started in 1959 when Tom Hall made the first polyethylene pipe in the Southern Hemisphere.
Now under the leadership of Tom’s son Rob, Worldpoly exports to over 108 countries, accounting for about 70 per cent of its total business.
“We ultimately want to have a machine operating in every country in the world, and we’re well on the way to that,” says Worldpoly Marketing Manager Nikita Hall.
In keeping with their focus on international markets, Rob saw an opportunity to establish a new distributor in South Africa, which would help to open up the Sub-Saharan Africa market.
“I think the key to our success in export is an almost complete lack of fear of selling in foreign countries,” says Rob Hall, Managing Director of Worldpoly.
Using our Small Business Export Loan, Worldpoly was able to send machines to this distributor, creating a business partnership with the potential to grow substantially – a great result.
FCT Flames: a world leader in flame technology
Another successful Australian exporter that continues to rise to the challenge is FCT Flames.
Based in Melbourne, FCT Flames specialises in the design, manufacture and operation of flame effects for ceremonial and sporting events.
FCT has produced some of the most watched man-made flames in history, like the spectacular cauldron at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, the ‘Rings of Fire’ from the opening ceremony of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and the cauldron for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In recognition of this experience, FCT won the contract to supply the cauldron burner for the 2015 opening ceremony of the 28th South East Asian Games in Singapore.
As is usual with these large-scale events, the games organisers required a performance bond to be in place to guarantee the burner’s installation before granting the contract.
Our bonding facility helped FCT to secure this contact and again deliver an experience that was extremely well received.
HEGS Australia: an innovative new design
Our third successful exporter is HEGS Australia, the South Australian manufacturer of ‘HEGS’, pegs with hooks that are designed to allow clothing to dry without marks.
“We first started manufacturing in China, and then I added all the interest we would pay for it sitting on a boat coming from China, and then realised we could do it cheaper here, in Australia,” says founder Scott Boocock. As part of its export growth strategy, HEGS Australia has distributors in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, England, Scotland, Ireland and China.
Recently, the company needed to increase its production capacity after winning three large export contracts into South Africa, China and the US.
Within the HEGS production cycle, there is often a delay between when HEGS Australia pays its suppliers to when revenue is received from buyers.
This financing gap can be up to three weeks, which puts significant pressure on cashflow and makes it more difficult for HEGS Australia to fulfil large new orders.
Our Export Working Capital Guarantee allowed HEGS Australia’s bank to approve the additional working capital that it needed to cover the upfront manufacturing and pre-shipment costs for these large export contracts.
Helping HEGS Australia scale-up quickly to fulfil these large orders helped it to enhance its reputation with overseas distributors and continue its overseas expansion.
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