ASSET BASED LENDERS STAYING AHEAD IN AN EVER-CHANGING MARKET FEATURING THE NEW BDO ABL MONITORING DASHBOARD

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1 i ASSET BASED LENDERS STAYING AHEAD IN AN EVER-CHANGING MARKET FEATURING THE NEW BDO ABL MONITORING DASHBOARD

2 ii CONTENT MEETING THE CHALLENGE 1 THE BDO ABL MONITORING DASHBOARD 2 THE BALANCE SHEET MARKET 4

3 STAYING AHEAD IN AN EVER-CHANGING MARKET ASSET BASED LENDERS 1 MEETING THE CHALLENGE BDO has enjoyed a strong relationship with the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA) and its predecessor, the Factors and Discounters Association, over the past 2 years. This has helped us to build an in-depth understanding of the industry which, we believe, now faces a number of significant challenges and opportunities. Twenty years ago there were less than 4 factors/discounters supporting 14, clients with total sales of circa 27b. Today, with close to 8 major asset base lenders in the UK market, the industry is supporting almost 44, clients with total sales of circa 292b. This is a fantastic achievement by any standards, yet speak to most within the industry and there are two major concerns: In a mature market, how do we increase our client base and funds in use? How do we compete with alternative sources of finance? So far, rather than a gradual evolution the response has been a rapid growth in new products. These include: stock finance, property finance, plant finance, trade finance and cashflow loans. SEIZING THE OPPORTUNITY While we believe these new products can help the industry meet its twin challenges of growing in a mature market and competing against new entrants, they also come with a health warning. But risks are nothing new to the ABL industry; it has built its success on identifying, evaluating and managing them effectively. So the key to future success may, in fact, be to look to the strengths of the past: applying the industry s experience of traditional products to those of the future. THE KEY TO FUTURE SUCCESS Apply existing industry expertise to new products. Fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of the potential client. Continuously monitor the financial position (particularly security), performance, future profitability and cash needs of your client. Understand the client s management capabilities and strategies to ensure they are performing satisfactorily and that funds in use/loans are secure. To help you rise to this challenge we have developed the BDO ABL Monitoring Dashboard.

4 2 ASSET BASED LENDERS STAYING AHEAD IN AN EVER-CHANGING MARKET THE BDO ABL MONITORING DASHBOARD This dashboard has been developed exclusively for the ABL industry by BDO We have learned over the past 2 years just how expert the industry is in advancing funds against its debtors. If industry players are going to successfully lend against other assets not only does that expertise have to extend to new products, there needs to be an understanding as to the strength of the potential client you want to lend to. However, there will be a need for ongoing monitoring of: Financial position (particularly security position) Financial performance Future profitability Cash needs An understanding of managements capabilities and strategies. To ensure that clients are performing satisfactorily and funds in use and loans are secure, and there are no unpleasant surprises, we have developed an electronic dashboard which we have illustrated across these pages to assist you with monitoring your clients. UNDERSTANDING TRADING PERFORMANCE EBITDA TRENDS BALANCE SHEET SUMMARY FUNDS IN USE 1,4k 1,2k 1,k 8k 6k 4k 2k FY13 FY14 FY15 EBITDA 7.m 6.m 5.m 4.m 3.m 2.m 1.m 9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 4% 3% 2% 1% % Jan 14 Mar 14 May 14 Jul 14 Sep 14 Nov 14 Jan 15 Mar 15 May 15 Debtors (RHS) Funds in use (RHS) Drawn % (LHS) RECENT TRADING Turnover Gross margin Gross Profit % Overheads EBITDA Net profit/(loss) FY13 FY14 FY15 ASSETS Assets NBV Prior Change Security NBV Freehold property x Other lender Leasehold property x Other lender Plant & machinery x HP Trade debtors x Stock x ROT/trade finance Other x Total x UNDERSTANDING THE LEVEL OF TOTAL BORROWING 'm ' Expiry Lending 1 1, 31 Dec 15 Lending Dec 15 Lending Dec 15 Total 2,25 Capital commitments Capital equipment to be funded from free cash. Relationship commentary RM view - how long has the relationship been held. Track record on delivering performance. Views on Management team. Any discussions on need for increased facilities? GEARING AND SECURITY COVER LIABILITIES Liabilities Value Trade & expense creditors x HMRC x Property mortgage x Invoice discounting facility x Stock finance x Plant loan x Trade finance x Cash flow loan x Other x Total x Net assets x Advance to value Comments

5 STAYING AHEAD IN AN EVER-CHANGING MARKET ASSET BASED LENDERS 3 WHAT DOES IT DO? Each chart/table below measures a specific aspect of the balance sheet, income statement and cashflow statement over time. Taken together these can help you make critical decisions at key points throughout the client/lender relationship. Using this tool in a timely way can build confidence and understanding, while also helping to identify and eliminate any potential problems ahead. TAILORED BY BDO We can tailor this dashboard to meet your specific situation and needs. Just contact us and we will arrange for a specialist to discuss your requirements and calibrate the dashboard accordingly. FREE TRAINING COURSES If you would like us to run a training course on the BDO ABL Monitoring Dashboard, please contact your local BDO ABL specialist advisor. SHORT TERM CASH FLOW FORECAST EBITDA TRENDS LONG TERM VIABILITY FORECAST HEADROOM 1,4k Headroom 1,4k Headroom A Headroom F 1,2k 1,k Key payments/receipts/troughs in headroom 1,2k 1,k 8k 8k 6k 6k 4k 4k 2k 2k Wk 1 Wk2 Wk3 Wk4 Wk5 Wk6 Wk7 Wk8 Wk9 Wk1 Wk11 Wk12 Wk13 Jan 15 Feb 15 Mar 15 Apr 15 May 15 Jun 15 Jul 15 Aug 15 Sep 15 Oct 15 Nov 15 Dec 15 Jan 16 Feb 16 Mar 16 Apr 16 May 16 Jun 16 Jul 16 Aug 16 Sep 16 Oct 16 Nov 16 Dec 16 Jan 17 Feb 17 Mar 17 FORECAST EBITDA 1,8 1,6 1,4 1,2 1, FY13 A FY14 A FY15 A FY16 F FY17 F Trading Forecast FY15 FY16 FY17 Turnover Gross margin Gross Profit (%) Overheads EBITDA Net profit/loss

6 4 ASSET BASED LENDERS STAYING AHEAD IN AN EVER-CHANGING MARKET THE BALANCE SHEET MARKET The balance sheet is now a marketplace not just for asset based lenders but for other funders too. What does that mean for the industry and what is the best strategy to succeed? More complex balance sheet and equity structures, once the preserve of major corporates, have moved well and truly into the SME sector. The main forces driving this change have been the risk and capital requirements of retail banks combining at a time of enduring low interest rates. This has opened the field to an ever-growing number of funders, which has resulted in a number of tensions: Low potential returns exacerbated by a diverse, competitive lending market. The need to differentiate not just product, but process and service too. The impact of technology bringing in different cost and service models. The globalisation of the money supply and the impact of different lending cultures. Increasing and potentially uneven application of regulatory oversight. Anecdotally, the SME s expectation of cost has gone down at the same time as its expectation of availability and / or service goes up. From the SME s perspective, this looks like an opportunity. From the lender s perspective it looks like a problem. And from previous experience we know that neither side benefits where such an imbalance exists. So what is the answer? BUILDING UNDERSTANDING Part of the answer may lie in understanding what players in an effective market do or at least should do: Seek to understand the market better than the competition. Decide when to enter and exit the market on its own terms. Obtain and share information between a wide, diverse group. Challenge that information without fear or boundary. Understand that information but not just from one point of view. Establish trust and competitive advantage through forming mutual dependencies and partnerships. If a balance sheet is now the marketplace for a growing number of stakeholders, then knowing who they are, what they are, what they ve done and most importantly what they want is essential. Lending without addressing the inter-linked dependencies of financial performance and the position of others is akin to the covenant-lite deals popular some time ago. 5 WAYS TO WIN Recognise the new reality Balance sheets are now a marketplace Get meaningful management information The right information, constantly Understand the whole picture Not just what you re doing, what other lenders are doing too BEYOND WARNING SIGNS A buzz term in risk circles used to be warning signs. That seems to be falling out of fashion. Warning signs are more reactive to a set of circumstances than the phrase implies. As a risk methodology, it lacks strategy and direction. A warning sign will only tell you that you should do something, but not what you should do. Private equity and venture capital have proved better at defining their expectations for the marketplace and, importantly, place those expectations in terms of value by imposing a specific timeframe. These sources of capital know in greater detail from a broader range of inputs, before and during their investment, what they need and what needs to be done. They know the way in and the way out and reconfirm this understanding regularly. In short, there is a plan. While all plans are likely to change over time, their importance in terms of the triggers for action, enhancement of value or limiting risk can t be understated.

7 STAYING AHEAD IN AN EVER-CHANGING MARKET ASSET BASED LENDERS Set appropriate controls Rather than inflexible measures of performance, set controls that strengthen the partnership between lender and borrower Have a plan Agree it at the outset but allow flexibility so it can evolve as the relationship develops and deepens WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN FOR ASSET BASED LENDERS? Firstly, it s one of recognition: that the balance sheet is a marketplace not just for other asset based lenders but for other funders too. Take, for example, a small business we recently reviewed. In that balance sheet market there was one bank (overdraft and term loan), two asset based lenders (invoice discounting, lease finance), one insurance premium funder, two credit insurers, two crowdfunders (which was a surprise not just to the bank but to the other crowdfunder), one unsecured loan note holder and numerous equity owners (split into ordinary and preference shares). For good measure, the key supplier was the holder of the loan notes which had unachievable bullet payments. Secondly, it s one of information and the need for a reliable and consistent way to keep on checking that the information is correct. We can call that management information but on many occasions it is neither reliable nor consistent. So, it has to be meaningful management information. Thirdly, it s understanding. In a marketplace you don t just want to know about your own specific interests, you want need to know what others are doing and why. A lender must assess in great detail management s capability and understand how each part of the company s performance may impact each stakeholder differently. For example, underperformance in a subsidiary may not worry its invoice discounter if the audit trail is good; but it may worry the bank lending to the parent if its security structure is not properly in place. Fourthly, it s appropriate controls. In all markets there are rules, and in financial terms these are covenants. Not inflexible measures of performance, but ones that are seen as beneficial by the client and strengthen the partnership between lender and borrower. Lastly, it s a plan. One that is formulated at the outset and altered as the relationship develops and deepens. This is not to be confused with a charging document or debt purchase agreement - they are contractual. The plan should define how the risk and benefits of the lending partnership will strengthen the relationship in good times and bad. THE BDO ABL MONITORING DASHBOARD We have brought together a number of these themes in our new dashboard. We see this as part of the answer to understanding your lending partnership and getting your partner to understand you. We would be delighted to continue discussing this with you and your teams. We can tailor the dashboard to meet your specific situation and needs and can provide training free of charge. Just call your local BDO ABL specialist advisor. KEY TIPS REALLY KNOW YOUR CLIENT In the past, lenders have cut corners in assessing management because quality of security was the overriding consideration. But now, with funds in use often maxed out across several products, really knowing your client is a must. DO THEY..impress or disappoint?..keep meaningful financial information?..know which parts of their business make money/which need attention?..talk to you/maintain quality dialogue?..have a strong team vision/strategy? KNOW THEIR STAKEHOLDERS TOO Today s financing may well involve other stakeholders, so understanding who they are, what they provide and what their drivers are as well as building strong relationships with them is key. BE READY TO ACT If you are lending more with more complex products you will need to act more quickly if underperformance sets in. So the importance of covenants and breaches which allow you to act is greater than ever. WATCH THE EXIT Exit planning is even more important. How strong are your relationships with rescue capitalists and acquisitive corporates? Getting the best price for businesses and assets is about starting a timely process and knowing the likely buyers in advance.

8 6 FOR MORE INFORMATION: WITH THE INDUSTRY AT A CROSSROADS, HAVING THE RIGHT ADVICE COULD BE CRUCIAL. BDO has over 2 years experience advising asset based lenders and has built a deep understanding of the industry. If you would like to know more about how we can help you build your client base and compete successfully against alternative funders, please contact: LONDON AND SOUTH REGION MIDLANDS REGION NORTHERN REGION MARTHA THOMPSON Partner, Business Restructuring +44 () KIM RAYMENT Partner, Business Restructuring +44 () KERRY BAILEY Partner, Business Restructuring MATTHEW TAIT Partner, Business Restructuring +44 () This publication has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only. The publication cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice. Please contact BDO LLP to discuss these matters in the context of your particular circumstances. BDO LLP, its partners, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information in this publication or for any decision based on it. BDO LLP, a UK limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales under number OC35127, is a member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms. A list of members names is open to inspection at our registered office, 55 Baker Street, London W1U 7EU. BDO LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to conduct investment business. BDO is the brand name of the BDO network and for each of the BDO Member Firms. BDO Northern Ireland, a partnership formed in and under the laws of Northern Ireland, is licensed to operate within the international BDO network of independent member firms. 215 BDO LLP. All rights reserved () HB7644

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