In its latest expansion move, Manchester-based CCA Group – a group of companies involved in commodity exports, manufacturing and farming – found it needed additional liquidity to support its newest subsidiary. ExWorks Capital was able to provide a flexible trade finance solution to support its diversifying needs. Matthew Goddard, Senior Director at ExWorks, explains.
When six senior associates abandoned their roles working for a large commodities corporate to branch out on their own, it was with the hopes of creating a business that would give back to the local African economy from which it was sourcing its goods. Fast forward two years, and CCA Group now boasts five subsidiaries operating across Africa, all of which anticipate rapid growth in the coming years – creating a wealth of opportunities for local people.
The company specializes in exporting agricultural goods from Africa to markets in Europe and the US, ensuring all exported produce is sourced directly from local farmers, but it has recently turned its focus to adding value at the early stages of the supply chain. One example is the company’s impact farming initiative, which is not only generating jobs for the local population but is an integral part of CCA’s larger goal to inspire and educate the next generation of African workers. The result: Africa’s economy is returned to the hands of local people.
Poor infrastructure and low levels of education are seen as chronic features of trading with Africa, and exploitation by multi-national corporations (MNCs) has done little to improve this situation. This has stunted local growth and resulted in African businesses accepting disadvantageous deals from MNCs that adsorb them into their wider supply chains. In order to put a stop to such exploitative practices, CCA has committed to educating the labourers it works with, giving them the skills to become more self-sufficient and the knowledge to develop their own business acumen.
A recent example of such an initiative is CCA’s purchase of a macadamia nut plantation in Kenya. CCA has financed the plantation – meanwhile employing and issuing shares to 30 local artisanal farmers and teaching them valuable farming techniques and important business skills that enable them to play an important role in the growth and management of the business. CCA has committed a 30% share in the business to these workers, meaning subsequent growth will be pumped directly back into the local economy.
And CCA’s work doesn’t stop there. It is also working to set up distribution units across Africa with local partners that do not have access to funding, teaching them how to do their own contracting, purchasing and sales. Such initiatives are vital to the development of a region that is at an important turning point – although innovation on this scale requires strong funding.
The Need for Capital
Financing a company with such an impressive outlook for future expansion is clearly an attractive proposition. Yet the complexities of deals associated with companies working with rural African businesses remain. While the company has enjoyed early success, it is still relatively new and does not possess the track record of longer-established companies. What’s more, financing any trade and development in rural Africa has its risks – meaning that traditional financing options will likely hit regulatory barriers.
With a growing need for capital, CCA approached Exworks for funding for its latest subsidiary, CCA Exports Ltd, which specializes in the shortimpact export of soft agricultural goods from Africa. After taking the time to understand the company, its products and its values, ExWorks was able to offer a solution in the form of a £2 million revolving trade credit line. With the option for annual renewal, the loan allows CCA Exports to expand its trading volumes while increasing trade frequencies to its existing clients – all of which contributes towards the company’s overall goals for development of the early-stage supply chain.
Certainly, the future of this flourishing company looks positive. As well as extending export, impact farming and distribution projects across Africa, CCA hopes to expand by building businesses and developing skills across the region. With an abundance of natural resources, CCA hopes to take advantage of the scope to manufacture goods that are otherwise imported from countries such as China – Africa’s main supplier. Soon, CCA hopes to establish a spaghetti plant in West Africa, which would offset the current 45% import tax rate, generate profits for the local government and, importantly, create valueadding jobs that help local companies increase their involvement along the supply chain.