Freddie Tucker, trade and structured finance director of Dints International, and Nicholas de Lisle, bid manager at NMS International, were both named winners of the GTR BExA Young Exporter of the Year Award.

Both winners were chosen because of their impressive contributions to their companies’ success over the past year.

Specifically, Tucker played an important role in the structure and completion of a recent Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) product, which helped secure Dints, an industrial equipment supplier, a contract with African mining company Gold Fields Ghana.

“Freddie spent two weeks in Ghana negotiating the export contract [Dints’ largest export transaction] to signature with Gold Fields Ghana. This contract will immediately create an additional US$6mn of export business for UK SMEs, with the expectation of this growing to US$100mn within three years,” reads Tucker’s nomination form, as submitted to the British Exporters Association (BExA) for consideration for the award.

The judging panel, which included BExA leaders and GTR’s editor, was impressed with Tucker’s intricate knowledge of the transaction, and the fact that the financing solution is replicable and scalable. “We expect it to be a blueprint for the transformation and growth of UK exports,” reads the nomination.

Tucker comments on his win: “It is a fantastic award to receive and I think this is reflected in the calibre of past winners and what they have gone on to achieve. BExA is a thoroughly respected organisation and key to the UK exporting industry, I am very honoured to be recognised by them. This award reflects the success of the past year with Dints and all the support we have received from Sullivan and Worcester, Investec’s ECA team and UK Export Finance. I look forward to our continuing success and growth in coming years.”

Meanwhile, de Lisle’s win was underpinned by his work supporting the business development team at NMS, an EPC contractor specialising in infrastructure projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. His nomination form makes reference to his “innate ability to understand the needs of NMS in winning new business”.

Specifically, de Lisle played a key supporting role in the signing of a €208mn UKEF-supported contract for the design and construction of affordable housing for the government of Cameroon, which included structuring a complex contractual bundle. He also shone amongst a project team on a US$100mn healthcare project in Nigeria, which involves the design, construction and equipping of hospitals in Kaduna state, and a €240mn project in Zambia for the design, construction and equipping of 108 health centres and three 200-bed hospitals.

“Nicholas demonstrated great leadership when negotiations broke down on price,” reads his nomination form. He then, on his own initiative, analysed all the costings, meticulously drawing direct comparisons with a similar previous project. “The result was to bring back to life what had become an abortive project.”

His business-winning competency in some of the more challenging export markets impressed the BExA panel of judges.

De Lisle tells GTR that his win would not have been possible without the support of the NMS directors, who have allowed him to take on greater responsibilities and learn from more experienced personnel in the firm.

Both winners see Africa’s rapidly expanding markets as key for UK exporters.

“The statistics speak for themselves on why the future of trading with Africa is a great opportunity to UK exporters: according to the UKTI, 34% of companies become more productive within a year of exporting and 70% of businesses say exporting has driven innovation and the upgrade of products,” says de Lisle. “With the current slump in a majority of commodities, the time is right to continue infrastructure development to maintain economic momentum.” Yet, he warns that for exports to Africa to realise their full potential, an Aid for Trade product must be introduced.

He suggests that such a product could be supported – and possibly administered – through the banking sector and would enable British exporters to structure projects that deliver benefits to the host nations. “The combination of UK government [UKEF and the Department for International Development – DfID] working in co-ordination with the banking sector and industry would be a powerful force for good,” he says.

In other news, BExA recently launched its annual benchmarking of UK Export Finance (UKEF) in which it claims that it is pleased that UKEF has demonstrated “continued appetite for improvement and development”.

The association’s co-chairman, Marcus Dolman says: “BExA asks government to take advantage of the unique opportunity to drive export growth presented by Brexit and to deliver to UK exporters the government support required to promote exports. UKEF have embraced a culture of continuous improvement and BExA calls on the rest of government to follow their lead.”


Image: From left to right: Geoff de Mowbray (BExA co-chairman, SME & micro exporters/Dints International); Shannon Manders (GTR), Earl of Kilmorey (BExA president); Nick de Lisle (joint winner/NMS Infrastructure); Lord Mayor Locum Tenens, Alderman Sir Alan Yarrow; Freddie Tucker (joint winner/Dints International); Marcus Dolman (BExA co-chairman, large corporates/Rolls-Royce); Deborah Bass (BExA banking committee chairman/Crédit Agricole CIB); Susan Ross (BExA vice-president/Aon); Terry Partridge (BExA SME & micro exporters committee co-chairman/RA Watts)