UKEF appoints head of direct lending

Margaret Eyres will help oversee a £3 billion credit facility which connects banks with exporters.

Margaret Eyres has been appointed the first ever head of direct lending by UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency.

Eyres, formerly head of export finance UK at Societe Generale, joined UKEF in March 2015.

A number of banks and other financial organisations have followed an open tender process to act as arrangers and agents on transactions where UKEF is the lender. UKEF oversees a £3 billion direct lending fund (DLF), which was launched by the UK chancellor in March 2014 with an initial balance of £1.5 billion.

Those 20 financial institutions which have made the panel may identify suitable transactions for the scheme in the course of their business relationships with UK-based exporters (and / or overseas buyers) and present them to UKEF for their consideration. Exporters or borrowers can also approach UKEF, which will then mandate a bank from the panel to assist in the closing of a credit facility.

It is not expected that alternative lenders will become directly involved in the scheme in the near term, Eyres told PDI in an email. “Over the longer term, there may, however, be a funding role for alternative lenders to play alongside UKEF, or alongside experienced export finance banks,” she said.

The first DLF deal was announced on 6 October 2014, along with the names of 20 successful banks and financial institutions that were selected to arrange and administer the facility. The first deal was a $110 million buyer credit loan which allowed Carillion to secure a significant contract with the Dubai World Trade Centre. UKEF provided 50 percent of the funding for the loan and guaranteed a buyer credit tranche, funded by a commercial bank. There are 43 live enquiries in the facility with deal size ranging from $5 million to more than $500 million.