"The Dusseldorf opening is the next logical step in supply chain development between Canadian and European companies, creating partnerships at the anchor company level that can grow into joint projects in emerging markets," said Benoit Daignault, Senior Vice-President, Business Development, EDC.
"In opening its first developed market presence in Dusseldorf, EDC is following its customers as they pursue opportunities within the global supply chains of key European companies."
EDC facilitated close to CAD 8.5 billion in transactions in Western Europe in 2009, involving some 1,400 Canadian companies. Over the past five years, EDC’s business volumes in the region reached CAD 34 billion. The bulk of this business in 2009 was in the information and communication technology, resources and transportation sectors.
"EDC sees a number of opportunities for collaborative work between Canadian and European companies, particularly in information and communication technologies, the auto sector, rail and aerospace projects," Mr. Daignault said. "We also are optimistic about the light manufacturing sector, both consumer and industrial, with strong complementarities in key sub-segments of the medical industry."
Canada’s exports to Western Europe averaged close to CAD 40 billion annually over the past five years. Canadian merchandise exports to the region increased 63 per cent to CAD 40 billion in 2008 from CAD 24.5 billion in 2004.
Klaus Houben, EDC’s new Senior Regional Manager for Western Europe, will operate from the Dusseldorf representation. Kim Lok, Regional Manager for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, will continue to serve EDC’s Western European customers from EDC’s headquarters in Canada.
"The recession and credit crunch have seen a strong increase in demand from European companies and private sector banks alike for commercial ECAs like EDC to fill gaps and bring additional capacity to existing private-sector transactions," said Houben.
"Given that demand, one of my objectives will be to develop partnerships with European companies and banks interested in working with emerging market financial institutions, so that we can work together in creating opportunities for European and Canadian companies in these high growth regions."
Houben has nearly 30 years of experience in the banking industry serving corporate customers from medium-sized enterprises to multinationals. Prior to joining EDC’s international business development group, Houben worked as a self-employed consultant specializing in corporate finance, developing financing and supporting the arrangement of loans for corporate customers. Before that, he was a member of the Board of Directors of PB Firmenkunden AG, the corporate banking unit of Deutche Postbank. His responsibilities included the acquisition, support and management of corporate accounts as well as the development of innovative concepts and international business.