17 April, 2018 Case studies
Reputation and personal service are a winning combinationDownload Case Study
Coface’s global reputation and personal service are a winning combination for fast-expanding Liberty House
Sanjeev Gupta established Liberty House Group as a trading company while he was still at university and over the last 25 years, he has transformed the business from a commodity led trading house into a global enterprise with net assets of US$ 450M.
In the last five years Liberty House has developed its industrial capacity as part of a strategy to reinvigorate the steel sector in Britain and further afield. This ambition has driven rapid growth for the Group which doubled in size in the last year (2017). High-profile acquisitions have included MIR Steel Newport in 2013, Scotland’s Dalzell Steel Mill in 2016, Tata Speciality Steels, Hartlepool Pipes, CovPress, Amtek and Arrium Metals and Mining in 2017.
Today, Liberty House operates in Europe, Asia, the United States and most recently, Australia. The business remains privately owned, but is now organised along corporate lines, with Sanjeev Gupta as Executive Chairman, supported by an executive board and senior management team. Its five main divisions include Liberty Commodities, which has a presence in 30 countries, as well as Liberty Steel, Liberty Aluminium, Liberty Recycling and Liberty Engineering.
Liberty Commodities first obtained credit insurance in order to finance trade with clients in India. “We had clients who needed credit but the cost of borrowing from Indian banks was too high,” explains James Waterman, Chief Operating Officer for Liberty Commodities in Europe and the Middle East. “Having a credit insurance policy allowed us to sell credit to these companies as a value-added service, meaning that they could effectively access borrowing at a cheaper rate and buy from Liberty Steel. Although we now trade much lower volumes in India, this approach still applies when we trade in the UK, Europe and Middle East.”
Liberty House has been working with Coface Global Solutions (CGS) since 2015, following the recommendation of its broker who spoke highly of the coverage and service efficiency. CGS was specifically established to serve Coface’s multinational clients, providing bespoke multi-country cover, access to a global network of risk experts in 100 countries and a single point of contact who can respond to any queries.
As a Global Group, Liberty House benefits from the support of credit insurance providers from all over the world. Coface have continually proven themselves to be an excellent partner since their introduction.
As James observes, Liberty House Group has benefited enormously from access to reliable business intelligence as it expands its overseas operations.
“Liberty House now trades from five international hubs and this is a prime example of where the international footprint of Coface aligns with our needs. We value Coface’s international expertise and underwriting knowledge which has helped us gain a foothold in these markets.”
James has been equally impressed with the service that Liberty House has received from CGS, from quick turnaround of credit limits (usually within 48 hours), to the responsiveness of his dedicated Coface account manager.
“I have a banking background,” he reveals. “In my experience, the best banks are not the biggest or smallest but those mid-sized ones who can offer one point of contact who you can phone direct. That principle applies to insurance too: of course, Coface is a huge company but they have taken the best parts of the smaller providers when it comes to service.”
A trusted name
Having credit insurance ticks an important box for Liberty House’s finance providers but Coface’s international reputation has also proved an asset with prospective clients.
“Coface are a great name in the market,” James explains. “Recently, we were in discussion with some prospects in South America. They didn’t want to send sensitive financial information directly to us at that stage but they were prepared to compromise and send these details to Coface instead. It shows the trust in Coface’s name and reputation which allows us to do the business we want to do.”
“I’d recommend Coface without hesitation to any company that works with Liberty House.”
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