19 January 2022

DZ Bank expands export finance team

Middle East & Africa, Europe

Germany’s DZ Bank has been expanding its export finance team with the most recent hire being Fabio Bonardi. He is based in Frankfurt and reports directly to Ralph Lerch, head of the export finance team.

Bonardi has the title of senior manager/director export finance at DZ. He was previously with Santander trade & export finance and before that with Deutsche Bank’s export finance team for more than 14 years.

At DZ, he will be focusing primarily on Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and across all industrial sectors. Bonardi will be responsible for origination, structuring and execution of transactions, and looking at deals from both importer and exporter angles.

Within LatAM he notes that most deals can expect to be mainly with private corporates and as DZ has a representative office in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the bank is well placed to boost activity in that market. Within sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of deals are expected to be with state-owned enterprises and infrastructure related.

The natural focus will be working with Germany’s Euler Hermes, but also working closely with other ECAs particularly Switzerland’s SERV, Austria’s OeKB as well as the Nordic ECAs depending on where the exporter is based. DZ is closely linked with the German exporter network, which has diversified manufacturing locations, giving the bank additional scope with export finance structuring.

Commenting on the potential deal pipeline for 2022, Bonardi says: “We are very optimistic, as we have built up a lot of business over the past year. So we expect to sign some interesting transactions across various sectors and geographies. And we have high hopes for some unique deals in LatAm and also in China.”

Bonardi also adds: “There is significant pent-up demand in the export finance market, so we hope that the coming years will see a decent pick-up of activity. Of course, much will depend on the Coronavirus situation. The other big factor in the market is always the political situation and we are seeing some events in certain countries, for instance Kazakhstan, that could be detrimental to the real growth of business and overall trade. However, we are certainly not pessimistic for our own business.”

The export finance team at DZ has grown a fair bit over the past 18 months and now totals 14 people. Bonardi notes that the team has a “cool mix” and a good 50/50 gender balance. “The team has an excellent outlook and is particularly pro-active and forward thinking.”

As far as new industries go, he stresses that DZ is keen to push forward with the changes and opportunities that are coming up. Bonardi expands: “The drive with ESG and the transition to new energy is something that the whole team sees as a great opportunity. And we are also pleased that many of the ECAs are now much more flexible with products and procedures in order to meet the challenges and demands of the market. We are certainly going forward with a very positive step!”

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