Articles

Offshore: A Relationship As Strong as Steel

By Erin Harding February 15th, 2019

Offshore

Offshore Stainless Supplies has worked with us since 2013 and in that time we have built up a strong relationship. The flexibility we offer has enabled them to protect their profit margins and acquire certainty in their cash flow.

Offshore Stainless Supplies is a stainless steel stockholder based in the West Midlands. The company was founded in 1999 when managing director, Chris Joyce, realised there was very little money in traditional stockholding of stainless steel and so something must be done with the metal. Thus, the team at Offshore decided to add value by increasing the steel’s strength. In doing so, they entered into a niche market.

Over the past 20 years, they have supplied and supported a wide range of major industries with their stainless steel and nickel alloy requirements. From oil and gas, through to the marine, transportation, automotive and construction sectors, Offshore Stainless Steel serves clients in the UK and abroad.

They also have their own fleet of vehicles which enables them to be extremely flexible with deliveries within the UK and Ireland.

Success from the start

We got in touch with Chris to discuss his foreign exchange (FX) requirements and see if he could benefit from the risk management services we provide. It proved to be opportune timing, for they had just had a bad experience with another FX provider, who were not very proactive. “There was another company who messed us about over a deal and then you guys got in touch,” explains Chris. “From the outset it just worked and it has been working ever since.”

Given that Offshore is a stainless steel processor, they have to import all of their material, hence the international payments and need for foreign exchange. While there is some dollar exposure, the vast majority of their exposure is in euros and our team has worked with Chris to help him hedge the euro purchases to protect profit margins. “We sell to Egypt in euros, but one of our customers in Israel uses dollars, so we’ll occasionally give you a call and bring the dollars back, because we have no use for them,” says Chris. “Whereas if our customers pay us in euros, we can just use them towards the forward contracts with yourselves.”

Working through the budget, risk and solution

That Offshore Stainless Supplies has euro payables and receivables means they have some natural hedging, but we took a look at their new euro exposure. Our experts then did an FX sensitivity analysis that helped outline the risks to the business based on the net euro exposure. It was important that we were able to gain an understanding of the business’s KPIs to ensure they were achievable through the strategies we put in place. They had a budget rate of €1.12, which was a useful starting point, and we went on to discuss the gross profit margins and the importance of maintaining these.

Once we had acquired a more nuanced understanding of the matters at hand, we looked through a variety of solutions, ones that matched their hedging requirements and specifications. Ultimately, this culminated in a portfolio of different risk management strategies and they continue to utilise FX forwards and FX options to hedge their exposure and protect themselves against adverse market movements.

Flexibility and a level of understanding

One of the chief reasons we have been able to develop a close working relationship with Chris and the team at Offshore, is the flexibility we offer. We are always keen to press upon our clients that the focus should not necessarily be on the exchange rates at any given time, but the best strategies to manage the risks of foreign exchange. “Put simply, we crave flexibility,” explains Chris. “We have had a few recent deals that have worked out really well for us and the fact is, if we went and spoke to more traditional banks, we just would not get the same level of understanding as we do with Smart.”

More recently, our team has been in close contact with Chris to discuss more strategic, longer-dated hedging that will afford them greater certainty over their profits and cash flows. While our clients have access to the entire trading team to benefit from pooled expertise, we also assign them their very own dedicated trader – we feel it is the best way of establishing a rapport and ensure that if assistance is needed, it can be received with a simple phone call. “The relationship we have with Duncan is really good,” says Chris. “Above anything else, we need flexibility – and Smart Currency Business offers that in spades.”

Exceptional customer service as standard

As our relationship with Offshore has blossomed, so too has the trust. This has led to Chris working with us on more complex risk management strategies, including options contracts. The team has also made use of our business service offering, where we were able to help them with some funding requirements.

What works for our clients works for us – we operate within such a competitive environment, that standing out from the rest requires exceptional customer service from beginning to end.

If you want to know more about how Smart Currency Business can help your business remove uncertainty and mitigate the risks of foreign currency exposure, then email us at info@smartcurrencybusiness.com or give us a call on 020 7898 0500.