Swedish company Svenska Aerogel is a global producer of Quartzene, a non-flammable material used for insulation purposes in various sectors, from the building and construction industry, to pulp and paper production. GTR speaks to Angelica Adamski, director of the board, about the company’s use of export credit support and the sudden impact of Covid-19.


  • Name: Angelica Adamski
  • Company: Svenska Aerogel
  • Title: Director of the board
  • Country: Sweden
  • Sector: Nanotechnology


GTR: Can you tell us about Svenska Aerogel: what do you produce and where do you operate?

Adamski: Svenksa Aerogel is an industrial company that produces Quartzene, the so-called next generation of aerogel, which can be used in a number of applications in the manufacturing industry. Quartzene is mainly used for insulation purposes and can be added to a material – such as paper, cement, wood and paint – to improve its insulating properties. The production plant is in Sweden and we operate through global distributors, including in South Korea, California and South Africa.


GTR: What are Svenska Aerogel’s main sources of trade finance, and how much support do you get from export credit agencies (ECAs)?

Adamski: We get support from EKN, the Swedish ECA. In my experience of having worked for over 35 years in the export credit market, EKN is one of the most flexible ECAs in the world. They provide us with full export credit guarantees, and we usually work with buyers’ credits. Our transactions are usually on the smaller side, anything from SKr200,000 to SKr15mn, which is why we sometimes prefer trade finance products as they are often more beneficial from a cost perspective.

We mainly see the export credits going into major development projects, as well as the manufacturing of the material.


GTR: Who are your customers and what challenges do you face when it when it comes to sourcing financing?

Adamski: It’s a question of whether our customers are creditworthy enough to benefit from export credit guarantees – that is the main issue and an increasing challenge, especially during these times of Covid-19.

Our customers can be divided into four segments. One is the automotive industry. These are usually sub-suppliers of insulation material to the big vehicle manufacturers, such as Volvo or Scania. These suppliers can be anything from small to medium sized, and are usually based in Europe, but we also have some customers in China and the US.

Secondly, we have the building and construction segment. That is when you put the insulation material into paint, for painting houses, for example. Those customers are based globally.

Thirdly, our material can also be added into anything that goes into the pulp and paper industry. For instance, the manufacture of packaging for the food industry. These customers are typically very large and usually don’t need finance from us.

And then the fourth business segment is industrial processes, where our materials go into pipes and tubes, for example.


GTR: How has Covid-19 impacted your operations and access to finance?

Adamski: Sweden did not go into any kind of lockdown, while all of our customers, particularly the African countries, went into very restrictive lockdowns, where it has not been possible to trade with these nations. The transport links throughout the world have been standing still. At one point, we came to a standstill, and couldn’t do anything apart from work on the strategy, ‘what do we do post-Covid-19?’

All the governments in the world rolled out big rescue programmes. EKN reacted very quickly, and came out with a rescue programme which we have benefited from. They are now issuing guarantees, both for working capital facilities and for supplier finance, so that we can keep the whole chain going, which is very important. EKN reacted in the same way as during the financial crisis. The same products and guarantee programmes have been taken out of the drawer and are being reused. It’s very efficient.


GTR: You also serve as a board member of the Sweden Africa Chamber, which provides advice to Swedish companies looking to trade with counterparties in Africa. What has been the impact of Covid-19 on Swedish exporters?

Adamski: For Svenska Aerogel, trade has dropped off severely. It’s the same for all Swedish companies that depend on exports, which is most of them. 70% of Swedish production goes to export, and exporting companies have lost 50-60% of their sales. In terms of sectors, the two hardest hit have been pulp and paper, as well as the truck manufacturing industry.