So when Adani Group, India’s largest private multi-port operator, ordered two IHC Beagle® 8 trailing suction hopper dredgers in 2015, Robbert became involved in arranging the preferred finance solution. “Adani wanted an ECA (export credit agency)-supported loan,” he explains. “That’s a loan supported by the Dutch state that offers favourable terms and conditions based on the export of Dutch capital goods. The company already used that type of financing in 2009 and 2011 for previous orders and IHC, as the exporter, plays an important role in securing that loan for them.
“We have assisted Adani by optimally adjusting contractual payment conditions to the preferred financial package and by coordinating the overall ECA process. We do whatever is in our power to ensure that the customer gets the finance structure they prefer.”
Best finance structure
“By offering this extra service to our customers, we aim to make it easier for them to buy our products while also strengthening IHC’s competitive edge,” says Robbert. “We are able to offer a total package – we not only supply them with the best equipment, parts or vessels, we also support them in getting the best financial solutions, while securing payment for IHC at the same time.”
IHC’s Customer Finance Solutions can include payment or repayment plans, ECA-supported loans, commercial loans, leasing and rental services, and even payments in difficult currencies that can offer even more added value for the customer.
Over the past few years, Robbert has seen a significant increase in the demand for customer finance solutions. “It used to be a lot easier for our customers to arrange the financing themselves,” he explains. “Money was readily available and financial products were fairly straightforward. In current markets, it can be significantly more challenging for them, that is where we provide a helping hand. We are now involved in around nine out of ten orders in one way or another.”
Following the growing demand for, and importance of, customer finance solutions, it has become Robbert’s full-time occupation. He started at IHC six and a half years ago as a Treasury Manager, and today he is a Customer Finance Solutions Director.
Big and small
The geographic location of customers, diversity of solutions and the variety in order sizes mean that there is never a dull moment for Robbert. “We can arrange a finance structure for a €100 million custom-built vessel as well as, for example, a payment plan for a parts package worth a fraction of that price. Both can be equally challenging and interesting. We love to be both the technology and the financial innovator!”