Abroad, Not Overboard Ex-Im Bank financing lessens the risk of doing business abroad.
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For exporter Michael Hainsworth, offering overseas buyers extended payment terms has become a competitive necessity. As a result, his family's company, Flare Industries Inc., has waited as long as a year to get paid for the equipment it manufactures for the oil and gas industries. "A lot of our clients these days are asking for very difficult payment terms--long payment cycles and very few milestone payments on large international projects," says Hainsworth, 31.
Like many growing businesses, the Austin, Texas, company started out self-funding its export orders, which took a toll on the firm's reserve of working capital. "Not only was self-funding the orders difficult, we were having trouble selling many international projects due to difficulty in financing these jobs," Hainsworth recalls. "Oftentimes, we had to increase our prices significantly to [finance] the projects, [which] would make us uncompetitive."