Corporate treasurers face exciting times ahead. Interest rates have been at record lows since the financial crisis and soon – perhaps very soon – they will rise as quantitative easing is gradually, well, eased and stopped. There is also volatile liquidity – more importantly – illiquidity. New regulations such as Basel III and accounting standards, among many others, will further drive up the cost of borrowing.
Treasurers have responded in different ways according to their different needs which are far more sensitive than macroeconomic trends and require daily attention and negotiation. Moreover, treasurers have shown how they can be nimble because each is in such a unique position. Some companies are investment [fixed] capital intensive, perhaps in a regulated environment, while fast moving industries are playing with huge cash volumes on competitively restricted margins and they have to manage their working capital ever more effectively.
In both cases, the availability of credit – bank facilities, debt and equity capital markets and third party investment funds – has remained much the same in aggregate but more individually differentiated. There are higher fees but there are also windows of opportunity. In managing working capital, the emphasis is increasingly on technology: trailing cash, pooling it and deploying it efficiently in the right currency at the time for procurement, for sales finance or simply keeping excess cash invested in deposits and funds.
I hope to hear more about these at our International Cash and Treasury Management event in Copenhagen on 23-25 September (www.eurofinance.com). A healthy funding equals a healthy company – and keep your funding flexible. Discuss!