International Finance
Magazine November - December 2018 Opinion

Completing the international trade puzzle

Completing the international trade puzzle
Brexit is a cause of concern for many traders as uncertain times lie ahead. However, now is as good as any to develop a competent export strategy for SMEs post-Brexit

While the United Kingdom is one of the largest economies in the world, it actually only makes up 1% of the total global population. And with reports indicating that just one in five British SMEs export, significant growth opportunities are being left on the table.

Taking into consideration that 22% of manufacturing SMEs said domestic orders were down, it’s never been more integral for manufacturers in the UK to develop and implement an export strategy to not only ensure growth but also access to global markets post Brexit.

Furthermore, with recent changes in legislation such as the implementation of the sugar tax, and changing consumer behaviour towards non-renewable materials, manufacturers in the UK are being forced to shift their processes and operations to comply with the new guidelines. Ultimately, this means they need to look further afield and target the 99% to maximise the value of their assets.

Alan bell
Alan bell

In a globalised world that is increasingly connected, manufacturers are able to reach previously untouched niche markets and audiences globally. As a result, assets which have reached its end of useful life in the UK can now find homes with international markets.

Staying connected
The key to making most of the opportunities offered by gaining access to international markets is implementing an asset management strategy at the core of business operations which acts as a platform for facilitating relationships between buyers and sellers.

Whilst assets are often unloaded at times of cash flow need, this is rarely the best way to get best value. Ingraining asset management in day to day operations can maximise the return and delivery of business objectives.

We believe that selling assets through business to business International online asset management systems/methods will enable manufacturers in particular to react quicker to the changing market conditions and identify opportunities that already exist for their machinery. In the UK alone, the B2B auctioneering market is worth around £480 million but we estimate that only a quarter of businesses in the country use B2B auctions as part of their asset management strategy. This means UK’s manufacturers could be leaving around £1.7 billion worth of assets lying dormant and losing value, which could be used towards funding change projects within their businesses.

Looking ahead
At Troostwijk Asset Management, we have over 90 years’ experience of connecting sellers to niche markets across 127 nations with 18 operational facilities around Europe. Our team believes everything has value, and we guide businesses in making smart, long-term investment decisions for their assets and spotting the right value and the right markets worldwide to ensure swift completion.

Our data shows that around 70% of all assets sold through our unique platform are exported internationally, so the opportunities for UK manufacturers to benefit from accessing the 99% are significant. Recently we matched one of our clients, a UK-based bakery who was looking to offload a crumpet assembly line, with both a domestic and international buyer. As part of the asset management service, our team of consultants carefully analysed which market the crumpets could appeal to most. In this case, we successfully sold the asset to customers in the UK and sent two more to New Zealand.

As a result, our client was able to access an international market that was previously out of their reach, meaning they increased the value of their end of life assets.

Completing the Puzzle
Whilst UK manufacturers have continued to prosper even during periods of significant economic uncertainty, it is key that they find new opportunities, particularly in a post-Brexit Britain, by accessing the remaining 99% of markets available worldwide.

There is no doubt that in the next year or so, from a practical and legislative perspective there will be even more challenges thrown at UK SMEs. Laws and regulations will be updated to cater to the new wave of trading rules as a result of leaving the EU.

Whilst the government has recognised the importance of negotiating and securing a strong trade deal, there remains significant doubt regarding how such deal will work in practice with numerous conflicts arising from leaving the Customs Union.

By enlisting an asset management specialist to guide them in making smart and long-term decisions, manufacturers can take the first step to reach international markets and maximise their value of their end of life assets.



Alan Bell is the UK MD of Troostwijk Asset Management and advises SMEs on the opportunities offered by engraining asset management strategy at the core of their operations and utilising zombie assets from other companies. With over 90 years’ experience, Troostwijk is an asset management specialist and the biggest industrial online auctioneer in Europe.
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