British firm sells to Bosnia

A British company is playing a leading role in resurfacing the runway of Sarajevo airport, symbol of the country's struggle to recover from the devastating civil war.

Parker Plant International, a private company based in Leicester, has taken advantage of an export guarantee scheme inspired by the World Bank, the international development agency, to sell a mobile asphalt plant, which was used to resurface the airport's pitted runway (finished last month).

Stewart Higginson, Parker's sales manager for Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, said the plant had to be built, exported and made operational within a few months. "We had to make it and assemble it on the spot," he said. The plant began operating in August.

Since the end of the war two years ago, Bosnia has struggled to attract investment to rebuild its economy. With the help of donor countries, the World Bank set up an Investment Guarantee Agency that covers political risk in both Bosnia and the Serb-dominated entity Republika Srbska.

The agency, which is in Sarajevo, is a rare example of cooperation between the Bosnian government and the Serb entity. Onno Ruhl, a World Bank official heavily involved in setting up the IGA, said: "It's a genuine state-level institution with a remarkable level of cooperation."

The guarantees are backed by a fund of around DM40m (pounds 23.8m) deposited with ING Bank in the Netherlands. ING issues a letter of credit to the exporter to Bosnia, against which payment can be made if the guarantee is successfully called. IGA gives guarantees on a purely commercial basis, charging the exporter 3 per cent of the value of the guarantee.

This scheme to finance critical imports is part of a $5bn (pounds 3bn) international assistance package for Bosnia. Another international agency, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, paid for the resurfacing of Sarajevo airport's runway.

Parker, the winner of three Queen's Awards for Export, is no stranger to Bosnia. It sold its first asphalt plant to Bosnaputevi, the contractor that did the work on Sarajevo airport 18 years ago. This latest asphalt plant contract was in fact signed before Parker acquired the "extra comfort" of an IGA guarantee. The company heard about the guarantee scheme in Bosnia.

Parker, which employs 450 people and has a turnover of pounds 30m a year, has also sold an aggregate crushing plant to Bosnia this year, and is doing business in other republics of the former Yugoslavia. The company makes quarry equipment and sand and gravel mixing plants, as well as asphalt plants.

Other companies have also used IGA guarantees. Mr Ruhl said that since starting in July the IGA had signed seven guarantees worth a total of DM14m (pounds 4.7m) for British, Dutch, Austrian and Italian companies. Enough contracts were in the pipeline to ensure that the agency would earn the income to finance and promote its activities.

But many companies are steering clear of Bosnia because it is difficult to finance trade with the country. Mr Higginson said: "Banks are not putting funds forward for Bosnia, where it's desperately needed."

Although the IGA offers protection against political risks, it does not take the place of the banks and other providers of export finance.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Analyst - Financial Modelling

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This really is a fantastic chance to joi...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Market Administrator (1st line Support, Bloomberg, Reuters)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Market Administrator (1st line Support, Bloomber...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game