Atkins Acuity, a member of the SNC Lavalin Group, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UK’s Export Credit Agency (ECA) UK Export Finance (UKEF) to co-operate in promoting UK exports through Atkins’ global projects development and implementation.
Dr Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for International Trade, announced the MoU at the UK Trade & Export Finance Conference, saying: “Atkins is a hugely respected player in the global engineering sector and I am delighted to be able to announce this partnership with UK Export Finance. As an international economic department, we are helping UK suppliers to be part of Atkins’ international business, and realising projects around the world.”
One of the biggest global challenges is that very much needed infrastructure projects struggle to attract early stage financing during the high-risk feasibility and concept development stage. Under this MoU, Atkins and UKEF will work together to identify suitable projects to utilize UKEF’s export finance support in order to boost growth and export opportunities for companies in the UK.
The MoU was signed by Louis Taylor, chief executive officer of UKEF, and Dominic Harvey, chief executive officer of Atkins’ Acuity business. It affirms that the two organizations will work together to secure financial support for projects in their early stages to enable infrastructure projects to reach a satisfactory level of preparedness.
Atkins has committed to promoting the delivery of its overseas projects from the UK and deepening its UK supply chain, with support from the UKEF. Atkins has a number of innovative projects in its pipeline across almost a dozen countries which could benefit from UKEF’s financial support.
The partnership demonstrates the exciting opportunities in infrastructure and engineering around the world, as well as the competitiveness of UK suppliers in the sector.
The MoU represents a breakthrough moment for Atkins’s Acuity business as this approach to financing project preparation is truly innovative and has not previously been implemented. The agreement also complements the ongoing work of SNC-Lavalin with ECAs, especially through its Capital division; the investment and asset management arm of SNC-Lavalin.
Dominic Harvey commented: “We are very happy to sign an MoU with UK Export Finance, delivering on our commitment to secure long-term finance and boost growth and export opportunities for businesses across the UK. It will support our pipeline of innovative infrastructure and engineering projects around the world, especially in developing economies in Africa and South-East Asia where our business is growing.”
Marie Lam-Frendo, Atkins Acuity project director, added: “With developing countries increasingly reaching the ‘middle income trap’, the traditional grant from International Financial Institutions approach to supporting project development needs to be revisited. This MoU represents an important breakthrough in our industry, where we will see ECAs playing an enlarged role in the infrastructure financing value chain.”
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