This is especially true when local companies are looking to expand their activities outside of Poland. "In talking with our clients and potential clients, we often hear that they are cautious when considering foreign markets, specifically when looking at those outside of the EU. The main concerns among those clients with which we spoke is a lack of information and the perceived risk involved in dealing with an unknown counterparty, often in an unknown market," says Andrzej Kopyrski, vice-president of Bank Pekao S.A.'s management board, supervising the Corporate Banking, Markets and Investment Banking Division.
The shortcomings in information regarding new and unknown markets can be addressed with the help of PAIH, Poland's trade and investment agency, with which bank closely cooperates. The agency has been extremely effective in coordinating the efforts of various government ministries and agencies in order to provide the most comprehensive data needed.
"Chambers of commerce are also our strong allies when it comes to supporting Polish companies in their internationalisation. They can provide their members with information on financial instruments and help them to build a business network abroad," adds Tomasz Styczyński, vice-president of Bank Pekao S.A.'s management board, supervising the SME Banking Division.
Regarding these risks, they can often now be effectively mitigated through the use of financing structures involving KUKE, the Polish export credit insurance corporation, and other export credit agencies. Alongside these agencies, Bank Pekao S.A. has recently put into action its strategy of supporting the foreign expansion of Polish companies by creating a new department of international banking and export finance. One of the main objectives of the new department is supporting Polish companies already present on foreign markets or ones currently considering foreign expansion. A key element of such support, which at the same time is a condition for strengthening the presence of Polish entities on foreign markets is a more attractive offer of banking products dedicated to financing of export contracts.
"Available export credit structures offer a multitude of options for short- and long-term financing needs. Long-term financing structures allow for the financing of foreign assets in various structures with the transfer the risk abroad or on the balance sheet of the exporting company. The products offer the ability to finance the importer or the bank of the importer. Meanwhile on the short-term financing side, we're able to finance trade transactions on the so-called non-commercial markets by offering trade finance products, pre-financing of export production, as well as export guarantees. Our new comprehensive approach allows the potential exporter to receive the information, advice and support to implement export financing structures tailored to their particular needs" says Dr Piotr Stolarczyk, head of the International Banking and Export Finance Department at Bank Pekao S.A.
While Polish companies now have the tools to effectively expand their activities abroad, for companies looking to invest in Poland the available support is just as rich. Notwithstanding the fact, that western companies have been active on the Polish market for three decades, and new ones continue to examine and enter our market, we have seen that finding the right banking partner may not always be as simple as could be anticipated. Foreign clients often look for a branch of the bank with which they work on their domestic market, which may not always be available as their markets of activity and those of their bank do not necessarily match. In approaching potential offshore clients Bank Pekao has made every effort to propose structures and solutions matching their particular needs. By utilising such an open-minded approach and access to the full palette of banking products combined with the bank’s knowledge and presence on the local market, Pekao is able to meet the expectations and needs of these new entrants to the Polish market.