When in 2016, Dell completed the flagship acquisition of EMC, it signalled the firm’s transition into a global technology leader. This brought new opportunities and challenges for its treasury operations organisation. It set about delivering a global framework, serving over 500 legal entities across 69 countries via treasury operations leadership in Singapore and regional hubs for Asia Pacific and Japan, EMEA and the Americas. By employing a ‘test, learn and grow’ strategy, more usually associated with start-up operations rather than with mature multinational corporations, it has been able to fulfil its ambitions. This is teamwork in action.
Catherine Yu has a strong track record of delivering strategic and significant commercial results. Her experience and expertise in finance, tax, treasury and business transformation makes her a natural contender for an award but it is her sheer leadership talent and unswerving professionalism that edges her beyond the competition. A deserved winner for 2018!
Valeo China deals with more than 700 overseas clients and suppliers in over 30 countries globally, with local entities managing over 12,000 transactions annually, constituting USD, EUR and JPY. The company was looking for, and found, a holistic FX cash management solution that would link treasury seamlessly with its shared service centre.
Electrolux operates in a very competitive white goods industry. With an over-reliance on local banks for collection in countries where international banks lacked branch presence for over-the-counter transactions, it took a holistic approach towards driving working capital improvement. This saw it adopt RPA, standardisation of processes such as consistent use of virtual account and lockbox solution, and supply chain financing. This has enabled it to achieve substantial savings, financial and non-financial.
Highly Commended Winner: British American Tobacco Limited
Overall Winner: Pfizer Limited
This end-to-end receivables solution, together with consolidated reporting powered by bots, has transformed Pfizer’s cash management in the paper-dominated payments processes of the Indian pharmaceutical sector.
Highly Commended Winners: Nashik Municipal Corporation | Google
Overall Winner: BHP
BHP solution is not simply about the introduction of a new global payment card to replace a fractured legacy regional programme. It is about a team that has successfully strived to harness the introduction of a new payment card to drive a far-reaching review of the firm’s global expense management.
This is a multi-step liability transformation of the company’s credit profile comprising approximately US$3bn. The company’s objective was to materially transform the credit profile of the issuer by a combination of deleveraging, extending average maturity and optimising the blended cost of borrowings. Careful sequencing, being issuanceready, timing the transactions with good market conditions and company’s results delivery, were key success factors. This has also helped communicate Vedanta’s credit story to existing and new investors.
Prior to Hankook Tire Singapore’s establishment, China and Indonesia factories procured raw materials directly from third-party suppliers in US dollars with long-terms. Tackling the mismatch between each factories’ purchase and sales currency, lowering the cost of issuing letters of credit on each trade and managing over long-terms saw a major centralisation and standardisation programme rolled out. It has been a success.
In order to gain market share, distributors have to be equipped with strong marketing strategy and support, steady infrastructure to drive efficiency, and adequate working capital. It is critical for Carlsberg to manage the risks associated with commercial growth and the company wanted to extend its support to most of its smallmedium enterprises (SMEs) distributors. It sought an alternative end-to-end financing for its eco system and found a two-stage end-to-end supply chain solution using account receivables purchase and invoice financing.
Highly Commended Winners: Harley-Davidson Asia Pacific Pte Ltd | JSW Group
Overall Winner: CLP Holdings Ltd
Risk management carries a high priority at CLP and it has a policy to hedge a high level (up to 100% if committed or known) of its market risks. This type of policy means that CLP needed to be up to date and able to respond fast to changes in industry and accounting regulations. The cloud solution implemented has future-proofed CLP’s treasury function.
The long-standing nature of this relationship, which leveraged the bank’s network across regions, enabled the issuance of a standby letter of credit in Norwegian krone in just a week, exceeding the expectations of the company.
Highly Commended Winners: Aland Group | Ecolab Inc.
Overall Winner: General Electric
The solution delivered for GE resulted in a multi-tier liquidity structure for USD and KRW that enable true end-of-day entity level cash concentration. This in turn delivered funding efficiency between multiple entities on pre-defined priorities and conditions. This bespoke structure caters to GE’s operational needs in Korea, resulting in some impressive benefits.
Given the pace at which Meituan-Dianping was growing, the unicorn (a private start-up valued at over US$1bn) had a major challenge to accurately forecast its cash flow beyond three months. It did not have a robust cash management structure in place, nor did it have an effective global cash investment strategy. The situation was compounded when the company received a US$4bn round of private equity funding in November 2017. This is a great example of a Chinese unicorn partnering with an experienced global asset manager, delivering a comprehensive liquidity investment solution to meet strategic business needs and dynamic market conditions.
As Kulicke & Soffa expanded its business it accumulated over 130 bank accounts with multiple banks globally, built across different technology platforms and formats. The fragmentation caused by incompatible file formats created significant challenges for K&S’s IT infrastructure. Application of cutting-edge technology to address the problem has been a success, with benefits for K&S that include increased security in transacting payments; reduced risk of errors; greater operational efficiency and nearly 100% of payment flows now automated and sent securely.
Unilever’s Indian treasury team have used the latest available technology to solve a very real business problem: how to automate AR reconciliation when so much of the data required is locked in emails and other communications. The AI-based solution has improved the accuracy of reconciliation at the company from just 33% in the old days of manual processes to 70% and, soon, to 99% – all this achieved within just two months of project start.
Highly Commended Winners: Alibaba B2B | Hong Kong Airlines
Overall Winner: Cochlear Ltd
This solution makes use of advanced risk management techniques such as CfaR and VaR which also link directly to the risk appetite of the company’s board in order to determine appropriate currencies to hedge and how much to hedge. FX risk management is now much more aligned with the company’s risk appetite.
Highly Commended Winners: Alibaba | Schindler (China) Elevator Co., Ltd
Overall Winner: Volvo Car Group
The challenge of upgrading treasury processes across its operations in India, Thailand and Taiwan saw Volvo Cars implement initiatives including SWIFT, and a virtual branch solution to centralise and digitise workflows for its tax payments. Benefits include cost savings; faster account reconciliation and cash application; and much improved cash visibility.
Saint-Gobain is highly proactive in seeking leading edge treasury solutions and its latest programme has focused on cash management and developing digital solutions for short-term investments. Key outcomes include an enhanced state-of-the-art liquidity solution and full automation of transaction management operations.
Highly Commended Winners: Louis Dreyfus Company India Pvt Ltd | Lykos India Ltd
Overall Winner: Renault Nissan Automotive India Pvt Ltd
Renault Nissan Automative India has secured deep efficiency gains after implementing a ‘revolutionary’ transformation of its treasury. The integrated solution, developed in collaboration with BNP Paribas, encompasses data extraction, encryption and automated bank reconciliation. Key benefits include more efficient liquidity management for maximising yield on surplus funds and accelerated receivables for improved working capital management.
Maturity, perseverance and focus: the perfect combination for this year’s Rising Star winner, Amit Grover. While still early in his career, Amit has demonstrated the traits of a seasoned treasury professional. A quick learner, these are traits that are clearly visible in the way he manages multiple projects and discussions, right across the board.
Rio Tinto decided in mid-2016 to fundamentally change its operating model, redefine its purpose and increase the efficiency of its processes. Its newly established commercial treasury has embarked on a journey to create a unique function that is a true partner to the business, actively seeking opportunities to create value through its understanding of financial markets and expertise in risk management.
Highly Commended Winner: Guangzhou Lotus Supermarket Chain Store Co., Ltd.
Facing large amounts of receivables from different buyers, CP Lotus was looking for an effective solution to improve its reconciliations. UOB’s tailor-made virtual account offering successfully connects its own e-banking system to CP Lotus’ merchant system and the firm’s ERP, automatically capturing customised reports and achieving the firm’s goal with efficiency and accuracy.
ZF Group has multiple legal entities but was struggling with a less-than-efficient cash management structure around its USD holdings. It came up with a sweeping and pooling structure that makes best use of the company’s USD balances across China while also allowing a two-way sweep of cash between the company’s header account in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone and other accounts around the world.
With increasing business growth at Alibaba Cloud, its incoming volume has increased exponentially and account reconciliation had become a major challenge for the treasury team. By adopting an end-to-end collections process that automated reconciliations quickly and accurately, the business was able to manage its working capital more effectively, helping to support growth more effectively.
Highly Commended Winner: Continental Tire Korea Co., Ltd
When Continental Tire Korea found itself handling dozens of incoming transactions every day from hundreds of retailers, it became increasingly challenging for it to reconcile account receivables manually. With objectives such as automating AR reconciliation processes and improving its overall working capital management, it worked with banking partner BNP Paribas to create a customised and scalable nostro-virtual accounts set-up for local customers, using multiple local partner banks.
Highly Commended Winner: British American Tobacco Limited
BAT Korea worked with its partners to re-engineer its accounts receivables and reconciliation process using virtual account technology, significantly improving efficiency and keeping its customers happy.
Highly Commended Winner: Nashik Municipal Corporation
As part of the ‘Digital India’ programme, this payment solution enables multiple e-government services across a number of municipal corporations in the country, including Nashik Municipal Corporation, the governing body of the city of Nashik in the state of Maharashtra, to be delivered to citizens faster and at a lower operating cost.
Google wanted to give the best experience to new employees, reducing the financial burden on them as they jet off to expensive locations like Singapore in their first week. But its innovative One Card programme streamlines more than just the firm’s expense management for ‘Nooglers’.
This is a tailored trade financing solution to support the company’s monthly suppliers’ payments in China and avoided the need to enter into any commodity hedging because of its high volatility. The solution was executed in a short timeframe and has resulted in reduced costs and increased efficiencies.
In actively embracing technology and deploying an innovative web-based solution to digitise its export documentary trade processes in its global shared services centre, K&S has improved productivity, reaping many immediate benefits. Its treasury has also taken a holistic approach, streamlining its operations and automating processes where possible to further eliminate inefficiencies.
Bajaj Electrical sought to achieve straight through, real-time transaction processing and financing for all participants in its supply chain because it wanted to reduce the turnaround time of order to pay. It looked to its partner bank for a fully automated process. The result is a unique solution based on APIs, enterprise service bus integration and virtual private network connectivity.
PT Indocement Tunggal Prakarsa (ITP) needed to improve payment periods and negotiate better credit terms but at the same time ensure minimum compromise to its suppliers’ cash flows. Using Standard Chartered’s fully-automated Vendor PrePay (VPP) solution, ITP is now providing working capital to its suppliers, enabling them to selectively finance their invoices any time before invoice due date, according to their working capital needs and with better interest rates by utilising ITP’s credit rating.
Highly Commended Winner: LF Logistics (Li & Fung Group)
LF Logistics’ business has grown substantially over the past few years. It has been consistently adapting and pivoting new ways to improve efficiencies, reduce operating costs and free up capital locked within its supply chain. Since its initial rollout in 1Q 2017 in China and Hong Kong, the company’s supply chain finance (SCF) solution has enrolled over 100 suppliers across five markets, enabling LFL to manage over US$80m in invoices, unleashing significant working capital benefits and, at the same time, strengthening relationships with suppliers.
Highly Commended Winner: Harley-Davidson Asia Pacific Pte Ltd
Asia Pacific is a key growth area for Harley-Davidson and it needed a solution to address the complexities of dealing in non-functional currencies such as New Zealand dollars and Indonesia rupiah. The company worked with its regional banking partner to develop and implement a best in class solution for both currencies which uses onshore local currency accounts and the bank’s cross-currency sweeps solution.
This Indian giant has exposure to five main currencies; USD, EUR, JPY, GBP and AUD. The solution it implemented supports a multi-company, multi-location, multi-asset, and multi-portfolio (or product) environment and helps manage exposure and offers tools to mitigate operational risks.
Jacobs is a great example of how a lean, efficient treasury team can leverage a close relationship with its banking provider to manage cash across widely spaced companies and regions. This strong relationship has positioned it well to take on new challenges such as the integration of the CH2M businesses.
Instead of following the best practice of selecting a regional banking partner, TVS Asianics went into this banking selection exercise with a long-term view of selecting the bank(s) that can meet its current business requirements and support its future plans in each country of operations where exposure, diversity and commitment are clearly demonstrated.
Jiangsu Aland Nutrition (Aland) was looking to implement a global treasury structure which would help it consolidate funds from its global entities to support the company’s rapid development in China and Europe. The USD/GBP/RMB pooling solution implemented involves a non-resident free trade account in the SFTZ.
The multi-entity/multi-currency solution implemented here is based upon a ‘follow the sun’ model, enabling funds to be moved from Asia to Europe to the US in a 24-hour cycle, resulting in reduced costs, improved cash visibility and standardised documentation and reporting.
This solution offers Ceat a risk-free approach to diversifying its investment strategy, as Ceat makes discount income by paying approved supplier invoices early. The scalable marketplace model is independent of interest rate changes and market volatility and has increased yields ranging between 500-600 bps more than short-term investments.
Following the merger of three companies that formed Ocean Network Express in 2017, the organisation badly needed a solution to bring the individual treasuries into one structure that would ensure operational efficiency, centralise payments to vendors and optimise turnaround time for receivables. With the help of technology, the merged company achieved that goal and, moreover, did so in just one year.
PT L’Oréal Indonesia has embarked on a digital transformation as it looks to tap into fast growth in online retailing and the potential of new technology to generate efficiencies across the company’s operation. One of its initiatives uses its employees as a pilot customer base to test a new website portal before it is rolled out to the general public.
Highly Commended Winner: Prudential Corporation Asia
Faced with the challenge of automating its decentralised (and manual) treasury operations, Prudential Corporation Asia adopted cloud technology. The benefits secured through the move have been significant.
Rapid growth led to Haier Singapore, regional headquarters and global sales and procurement centre for smart home appliance Haier Group, to seek a customised off-balance sheet solution to improve its overall working capital and liquidity management. The resulting scalable, digital solution has enabled Haier Singapore to drastically simplify and hasten the submission of invoices to obtain off-balance sheet financing.
Two-way volatility in RMB exchange rates has become a normal phenomenon over recent years, having a major impact on customers of Alibaba. The FX rate locking solution here enables its clients to sign forward foreign exchange rate contracts with the bank online and lock the exchange rate of the expected cash flow (fixed amounts and fixed currencies) within a certain period.
This airline worked with a new banking partner to implement a multi-currency pricing (MCP) FX solution across its web and mobile app platforms. By establishing connectivity with the bank’s FX platform through an application programme interface (API), live FX rates are fed directly into HKA’s internal booking engines providing an improved user experience.
E-commerce giant Alibaba.com is constantly looking to better support SMEs participating in its online marketplace. As part of this effort it needed to develop a set of cash management solutions that met the demands of a non-traditional model of collections and payments service. Working with Citi, the company addressed the challenge by implementing SWIFT GPI, a virtual account solution, and an automated reconciliation solution.
Highly Commended Winner: Schindler (China) Elevator Co., Ltd
Treasury management at elevator and escalator provider Schindler is well established but needed optimising and bringing up to date. The company joined forces with DBS to successfully address the challenge by implementing a multi-currency account solution; a digital cross border payment solution; and SWIFT GPI.
Chipmaker Qualcomm’s growth in China led to the need for it to upgrade its cash management operations. A multi-pronged approach to the challenge resulted in centralisation of cash held, streamlining of its cash repatriation process and a new, fully digital solution for stock option payments.
Highly Commended Winner: Datang Financial Leasing Co., Ltd
Datang Financial Leasing joined forces with their bank to action a novel US$100m financing solution that helped the company sidestep regulatory credit limitations. The solution involved cross-currency accounts receivable financing backed by a receivables pledge and corporate guarantee, coupled with FX swap and interest rate swap.
Overall Winner: Renault Nissan Automotive India Pvt Ltd
Highly Commended Winner: Louis Dreyfus Company India Pvt Ltd
Louis Dreyfus India has successfully rationalised over 100 bank accounts to just 40 with the help of virtual reference numbers and support from J.P. Morgan. More efficient liquidity management and cost savings and customised and automated real-time reporting tailored to meet the needs of various business units are just some of the benefits accrued.
Overall Winner: Renault Nissan Automotive India Pvt Ltd
Highly Commended Winner: Lykos India Ltd
A new API driven collection and payments solution is helping to ensure customers of Lykos, the online commodity player, enjoy a much smoother and effective transacting experience. Lykos, meanwhile, is witnessing a reduction in customer time-outs and improved sales. The solution also provides a platform for scaling up its operations both nationally and internationally.