Marcelino Castrillo

Spread your wings

To grow your business globally you not only need the right strategy, but the right support, says Marcelino Castrillo, Managing Director of Commercial Banking at Santander UK.

Going for growth

In business, as in nature, growth means life. And whether you are a blossoming SME or a well-rooted corporation, it is important to acknowledge that some of the best opportunities to grow your business can be found in markets outside the UK. The Government has certainly acknowledged this fact, and is increasingly emphasising the role British businesses trading overseas will play in economic recovery. Yet, although the business case to expand internationally is convincing, making the move can be a daunting prospect.

Change in perspective

Part of the preparation for beginning to trade overseas is establishing a healthy cashflow and ensuring you are adequately financed. This is where some businesses can hit their first hurdle. In an unfavourable lending landscape it can be particularly difficult for companies lacking a track record in exporting to get their bank on board with their international ambitions. This is why, at Santander, we believe the perspectives of both banks and businesses need to change. We are and always have been committed to lending to businesses at different stages of their development, including those beginning to trade overseas, so before we make a lending decision we work hard to gain a full understanding of past history alongside future aims and objectives. To do this, however, we expect businesses to be as transparent as possible when speaking with our Relationship Directors, divulging every detail, so we can come up with the right plan.

Our international credentials

Santander has over 14,000 branches worldwide, spread across 10 major markets. In each market, we have an International Desk dedicated to helping customers who want to grow their business overseas. Our professional teams are multilingual, with extensive market knowledge of the countries covered by our network, including details of local macroeconomics and the financial, regulatory, legislative and business environment.

Here in the UK, if you are looking to export, or are already exporting, we can talk through your entire trading cycle and conduct an ‘international health check’ to identify financing gaps and the most relevant solutions.

In addition, we offer you access to the in-depth expertise of specialist teams across a wide range of industry sectors and access to a global base of products and market knowledge. Our Trade Export Specialists know which markets are best suited to which industries and the challenges and considerations involved in trading internationally.

Underpinning your success

For instance, one of our customers, Brand Packaging, is an exceptionally fast-growing company which works with the licensing agencies of household brands such as Coca-Cola to develop gift packs for retailers. Despite an increasing client list, the operation was facing challenges related to long trading cycles in sourcing raw materials and assembled gift packs from the Far East. Its previous bank was unable to meet the company’s growth requirements so the business came to Santander for a £700,000 finance package which included an import loan facility, invoice finance and foreign exchange services. Said Richard Longhurst, Co-Founder: “As we grew, we knew we wanted to work with Santander because it was the most professional and had the most ‘can-do’ approach of the banks we saw.”

If you would like to tap into Santander’s international expertise, contact your local Relationship Director: santandercb.co.uk/contact

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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK