Working capital efficiency
As Lenovo continues its global expansion and focus on restructuring, its need for working capital to support its business growth and deleveraging has grown considerably. Lenovo’s working capital management team adopted a targeted approach to focus on both sides of their balance sheet, reducing the sales cycle (DSO) and extending the payments cycle (DPO). These goals required tailored solutions to fund Lenovo’s working capital goals. Key solutions implemented in the last 18 months have resulted in incremental working capital efficiency of US$925m.
Capital structure and debt management
Lenovo’s team has been able to take advantage of its strong understanding of capital structure analysis and forecasting and an intimate knowledge of the capital markets to raise innovative and timely financing over the years. They currently manage a debt book of around US$3-4bn and tap various kinds of market instruments for financing the group’s funding and hedging requirements. Lenovo’s keen understanding of capital structure, funding requirements and capital markets, coupled with its ability to make quick decisions to take advantage of market conditions, have resulted in successive timely and successful capital market fundraisings.
All in all, the Lenovo team displays an art of distinctive change management with agility and speed. Their progress over the last 18 months, deploying complex solutions for working capital efficiency, has resulted in a net opportunity interest saving of US$60m and added to cash flow of US$2bn. Similarly, their drive for liquidity efficiency has resulted in US$28m of additional savings.
“It is a huge compliment and a fantastic achievement,” says Damian Glendinning, Group Treasurer at Lenovo. “I am especially pleased because it is for the team, I am very fortunate to have a great team that has been doing fantastic work for a long time and I am incredibly pleased that they are being recognised.”
Elsewhere, AIA Group collected the hotly contested Harnessing the Power of Technology Overall Winner award for its all-encompassing technology upgrade that has given it the ability to fundamentally alter how it manages its cash, allowing treasury to add increased value to the organisation and give it a competitive advantage in the region.
To do this, AIA has deployed SAP Cash and Liquidity Management and SAP Bank Communication Management, both of which have enabled it to replace legacy paper-based transactions and approvals with a modern system while improving the overall control environment. The adoption of SWIFT has also given AIA the ability to deploy best practice security and bank connectivity standards throughout Asia Pacific while retaining multiple global and local banking partners.
“Being an Adam Smith Awards Asia winner gives external legitimacy to what we have achieved and allows us to engage with our peers in the insurance industry and others on best practice sharing and further strengthens AIA as a leader in Asia,” says Gary Gray, Head of Treasury Operations at AIA.
Revolutionising trade finance
The Judges’ Choice award looks for something a little bit different and this year the award went to Maersk Trade Finance.
In an era marked by instant gratification through interfaces enabling immediate procurement of services (iTunes, Amazon and Uber), the world of global trade remains paper-heavy and procedure-intensive, characterised by disconnected processes. Maersk, however, has a unique position in the heart of the supply chain of many organisations and has built a digital solution that removes friction for its customers and provides them with new financing options when shipping with the company.
The ability to secure working capital alongside a logistics solution is imperative for global trade, so with this solution, Maersk brings to its customers the first ever single window for container logistics and trade finance. The overall aim for Maersk is to drag the world of trade into the 21st century for the benefit of all market participants.
“The true success of any start-up business is measured by hearing positive things from your customers and also receiving external recognition from something as prestigious as the Adam Smith Awards Asia,” says Vipul Sardana, Global Director of Trade Finance at Maersk.
Ariel Liu, Senior Treasury Analyst, Johnson Controls (JCI) was this year’s Rising Star. Within a short space of time, Ariel has become a pivotal part of the JCI treasury team. This is despite having to learn many treasury skills on the job.
Ariel’s most notable achievement to date has been her work leading the creation of a world-class cash management structure for a new multi-billion-dollar global joint venture with Hitachi. To assist her on this project, Ariel proactively began learning Japanese with the aim to communicate better with her Japanese counterparts from Hitachi. Elsewhere, Ariel led the integration work following JCI’s acquisition of Tyco. She also completed the request for proposal process for the JCH JV global banking relationship.
Commenting on her win, Ariel says that: “Winning this award is my greatest achievement in my career to date.”
Another chance to shine
As always, we challenge the treasury community in Asia to do better. This is what the Adam Smith Awards are all about: recognising the creativity and ingenuity of the treasury community, and in doing so, inspiring treasurers (and their banking and technology partners) to think creatively and develop even better and more innovative solutions.
The Adam Smith Awards Asia will be running again in 2018, with nominations opening in mid-June. We once again invite corporates of all shapes and sizes from across the region to take part and we look forward to receiving your submissions. In the meantime, you can read case studies from the Overall Winners and Highly Commended Winners in our yearbook and on our website.