Solutions can only ever be as good as the understanding that exists between the two partners. Michael Sager and I are therefore in touch two or three times a week, depending on the transactions taking place at the time, and even speak daily during particularly busy periods. He links us up to product experts and other colleagues at Helaba, who also regularly assist us with our day-to-day core business in respect of either FX or interest rate management. We call on their market expertise in relation to matters like current developments, such the volatile environment in the USA at the moment, and also tap into their know-how regarding questions surrounding the ever more complex regulatory situation and issues like EMIR.
Highlighting alternatives without interfering or intervening in the customer's strategy: that is the balancing act the duo of Michael Sager and Claudio Lagemann perform every day. Providing effective support to the expanding international companies they serve requires them also to consider the day after tomorrow – the customer's medium-term to long-term strategic objectives and the associated challenges for its organisation.
We can only think ahead in this way if we have a very thorough understanding of the company concerned. It is not financial ratios and so on that matter here but rather our familiarity with the industry, the driving forces and key trends within it and the pertinent strengths and weaknesses.
This particular aspect is absolutely critical for us. We pursue a clear growth strategy involving both organic and inorganic pathways and when it comes to acquisitions, we are of course very keen to put good financing arrangements in place. We have an excellent financial foundation, but naturally we still need strong, fast and above all trustworthy finance partners.
Dr. Michael Schneider
and Claudio Lagemann
NORMA and Helaba coordinated their speed of response most effectively in August 2016, for example, when the NORMA Group placed an additional € 150 m promissory note loan with fixed and variable interest tranches. The group issued four of the eight tranches in US dollars. Terms were set at five, seven and ten years. The proceeds of the issue were used to fund activities including the acquisition of Parker Autoline in the fourth quarter of 2016, which expanded NORMA's range of connectors and further enhanced its position in the market. This was the third successful promissory note transaction completed by Helaba for the NORMA Group.
Trust thrives on critical and specific dialogue and is enhanced by the ability always to keep the bigger picture in mind. This realisation led to the establishment four years ago of a customer round table that provides a platform for people from different companies and sectors to share thoughts and ideas about subjects of interest to all. The companies involved regularly find themselves all facing the same questions and challenges. Prominent examples include expanding operations into other countries, payment transactions, cash pooling, locking in favourable interest rates and acquisitions.
Why not make use of the knowledge and experience others have to offer? Our round table brings together the "hidden champions" that we support in a manner conducive to effective networking and discussion. Information sharing at the operational level: that is the added value I can bring to customers in my capacity as an advisor. And where is the added value for me? I gain better access to the operational issues that concern my customers, which enables me to align my advice – and Helaba's products – even more carefully with each customer's specific needs.