gtnews Awards for Global Corporate Treasury: 2012 Shortlist Revealed in Full

The Awards for Global Corporate Treasury 2012 will be held on 24 May at the Sofitel Grand Hotel in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. The event recognises the treasurers’ and teams who have done the most to contribute to the success of their organisation, wherever they are in the world.

Now in its third year, the event has a hard-earned reputation for authority and independence. The judging panel consists of working treasury professionals from Tiffany’s, AkzoNobel and Etihad, among other corporates, who are willing to use their real-world expertise to ensure that the very best examples of great corporate treasury work are rewarded.

“Bank of America Merrill Lynch would like to congratulate all those shortlisted in the gtnews Awards for Global Corporate Treasury 2012. We are delighted to be sponsoring these awards and look forward to welcoming the teams to the ceremony on 24 May in Amsterdam,” said Carole Berndt, head of global treasury solutions for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA Merrill).

The 2012 Awards are bigger and better in every way. More categories and more judges have been added, so that every entry can be assessed in detail by working treasury professionals with specialist expertise. At a time when treasury departments are coming under pressure to do more with less, the need for best practice examples to be highlighted and celebrated has never been greater.

In total, 76 entries from 57 different corporate treasury departments were received in 2012 spanning 11 different categories. The shortlisted entries and full project summaries, with some reaction quotes from the judging panel included below, represent a revealing cross-section of all that is best in the world of treasury at this time and show how corporations are coping with the pressures of an ever-more globalised marketplace, economic recession and debt fears in parts of the eurozone, allied to tight credit conditions and a raft of new regulatory compliance demands.

The winners in each of the 11 categories will only be revealed on the night of 24 May at an exclusive awards ceremony, which will follow on from the gtnewsForum for Global Corporate Treasury, a two-day conference that will examine the key topics, trends and challenges facing treasurers at present, with speakers from the European Central Bank (ECB) and European Payments Council (EPC) addressing issues such as the single euro payments area (SEPA) and the eurozone crisis, among much else.

The 2012 Awards shortlist is as follows:

Cash Flow Forecasting Project of the Year

The winner of this award will be the treasury that was best able to improve its cash management processes, whether in accounts payable, accounts receivable, cash forecasting, netting/pooling, etc.

  • Carlsberg – Liquidity Management Project: Carlsberg’s liquidity management project is already showing positive results. By having an automated and structured solution, the accuracy of company-wide cash flow forecasts has increased. The web-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution is hosted and maintained by Opus Capita. Carlsberg now has an attractive value proposition for its subsidiaries, as they have their own structures, processes and reports.
  • Merck – Global Restructuring of Cash Management Processes: The reorganisation of the cash management procedures at Merck was undertaken with the assistance of Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and BNP Paribas, and delivered global benefits to the firm.
  • UPS – Overcoming Data Aggravation: For the United Parcel Service (UPS) treasury team obtaining daily visibility into its bank balances across 1,600 accounts globally was anything but simple. Treasury implemented its global SWIFT bank balance initiative, integrating it into its global cash flow forecasting system, cutting the number of accounts held and achieving significant beneficial results for the company.

According to one of the judges during the shortlisting procedure when scores and comments were being gathered, this UPS entry achieved, “a pretty outstanding result, decreasing bank accounts by 50%.”

Foreign Exchange (FX) Project of the Year

Amid increasingly complex and volatile markets, the winner of this award will exhibit best practice in foreign exchange (FX) hedging and management.

  • Cognizant Treasury – FX Hedge Programme: The global treasury team of Cognizant Technology has built an FX hedge programme covering both long-term cash flow exposures of the Indian rupee and European balance sheet exposures. The goal is to mitigate volatility on the income statement, thereby increasing predictability of the company’s margins, contributing to shareholder value.

The “successful identification of risk mitigation strategies and application of derivative instruments” in this Cognizant treasury project was very impressive commented one of the senior judges during the shortlisting procedure.

  • SABMiller – Project Griffin: European Treasury Centre Implementation: Project Griffin at SABMiller built a European treasury centre to provide efficiencies and standardisation, and to enhance control and reduce risk and costs. Working with partners at Citi and IT2, Griffin achieved best practice project management results, generating a substantial range of savings and transparent workflow optimisation in FX pricing, cash and exposure forecasting.
  • Thai Airways – Comprehensive FX and Cash Management Solution: This comprehensive cash management solution, developed with Citi, efficiently supports day-to-day operations across 45 countries worldwide and improves liquidity management in Singapore.

Risk Management Project of the Year

The winner of this award will demonstrate how an enterprise-wide approach to risk management is now business critical.

  • Toyota Financial Services – A Sovereign Risk Protected Liquidity Solution: Toyota Financial Services effectively delivered a US$300m intercompany liquidity solution to its Brazilian affiliate. Political risk insurance was used to mitigate exposure to sovereign risk, thereby allowing the execution of offshore term loans that have saved the Brazilian operation US$16m in interest expenses.

“This [Toyota] solution can be applied to others. The issue is not credit, but sovereign country risk,” said one of the judging panel while scoring the entries.

  • Aeroflot – Implementation of SAP in Transportation Industry Treasury: Aeroflot’s broad and deep transformation of its operations and treasury has made it smarter and more competitive and positioned it to become a leading airline in Europe. Working with SAP and Citi, it has streamlined the use of information, centralised multiple functions and improved efficiency, visibility and control.
  • Henkel – Global Bank Account Visibility: Henkel has achieved automated visibility of all bank account details, including authorised signers, business purposes and so forth, allied to balance oversight on a daily basis. Thanks to this project it now meets internal audit guidelines and has consolidated and optimised its account structure and banking relationships, while improving counterparty risk management and the firm’s ability to manage currency exposures.

Shared Service / Payment Factories Project of the Year

The winner of this award will have exhibited a cutting edge approach to centralisation, whether through a shared service centre (SSC) or payment factory.

  • AB Sciex – Readiness Project: In less than 18 months AB Sciex built global cash and currency management models and state-of-the-art payment factory solutions in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and in-house bank (IHB) systems operated by another multinational company for more than 35 entities worldwide.
  • Philips Electronics – Next Generation Philips Payment Factory (NGPPF): The NGPPF provides Philips with greater control over the group bank infrastructure and payment processing. It also enables treasury to advise local affiliates on efficient working capital management, while at the same time improving trade credit management. Finally, it lays the foundation for enhanced cash forecasting.

According to one of the judges’ scoring comments, “this project successfully centralised all global cash management and payments processing for 25 countries and 15 currencies.”

  • Dassault Systemes – Treasury Using XML to Become a Key Support Finance Partner: The main objective of Dassault Systemes treasury was to better organise, control and secure the payments issuing from its European SSCs. Another goal was to implement a straight-through process (STP) for payments combined with electronic signatures and SWIFTNet transmission to bank partners across Europe.

Supply Chain / Trade Finance Project of the Year

This award will be given to the corporate treasury that has developed an innovative supply chain or trade finance project, and can exhibit best practice in its relationships with its bank and business partners.

  • Foxconn Technology Group – Supply Chain Finance Programme: Foxconn has grown to become the world’s largest electronics manufacturing services provider, serving customers such as Apple, HP, Dell, Intel and Sony among others. It has large exposures to foreign exchange fluctuations and interest rate changes around the world due to its global client base so has introduced an offshore US dollar supply chain finance solution in conjunction with BofA Merrill to mitigate risk and provide steady flows of capital.
  • Merck – Global Guarantee Management (L/Cs): A small internal project team of just two people, working with the assistance of Deutsche Bank, rose to the challenge of delivering a single worldwide, consolidated bank guarantee facility worth more than €150m. Valid for all 250 subsidiaries and using a single procedure and bank platform to minimise errors, the system also has automated reconciliation and fee management to cut costs and time.

One member of the judging panel commented about the Merck entry that he gave “the highest score to the two employees for their perseverance”, quite rightly highlighting the small amount of resource allocated to such a large project and the success Merck enjoyed in “streamlining multiple banks down to a single bank guarantee provider, utilising automation and STP tools”.

  • Stanley Black & Decker – Supply Chain Finance EMEA Expansion: Following the merger of the Stanley works with Black & Decker in March 2010, the combined organisation embarked on its integration plan to leverage best practice across the new entity, including Stanley’s experience in working capital improvement, expanding its supplier finance programme in the US and internationally.

SWIFT Implementation Project of the Year

This award will be given to the corporate treasury that has shown industry-leadership through its implementation of SWIFTNet connectivity.

  • GE – Eco-imagination at Work: Receiving and Warehousing E-statements: GE solved the problem of accessing and retaining bank account statement information for 14,000 accounts across more than 100 banking relationships and 98 countries by working with JP Morgan, BofA Merrill and SWIFT. The project will save GE US$1.5m, but more importantly it will eliminate the need to store paper documents and deliver critical process efficiencies.
  • Johnson Controls International – SWIFTNet (TRAX) Implementation in Asia-Pacific/Middle East: JCI has achieved full access to all its bank accounts across 23 countries via a single new platform. It has gained full visibility of its bank accounts and streamlined money transfers, access rights and settlement procedures with a solution that is secure and reliable, while also being scalable and bank independent.

“A well-planned, phased approach including a steering committee which is great best practice … delivered a real-time view across JCI providing better support and controls,” said one of the gtnews awards judging panel.

  • eBay – SWIFT Implementation: eBay has grown into a truly global business since its launch 17 years ago but with more than 250 bank accounts across 37 countries a consolidation project was now overdue. Its work with BofA Merrill and SWIFT in introducing common standards and widespread mandated use of SWIFTNet transactions has provided considerable benefits.

Working Capital Project of the Year

This award will commend the treasury that has put into practice a working capital optimisation strategy and have the metrics to prove the results.

  • Lehigh Hanson – E-payables Programme: With a large supplier base across North America, Lehigh Hanson was processing a huge volume of cheques every year incurring considerable associated costs and administration. Following discussions with its primary banking partner, BofA Merrill, they recognised the opportunity to cut the number of cheques substantially by introducing an e-payables programme.
  • Roche – Global Commercial Card Project: Roche’s global commercial card programme via Citi spans 90 countries, 55 currencies and 25 languages, covering required countries across Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America. The solution ensures a single source of accountability, enhanced reporting functionality, consistent features and a user-friendly experience.

Commenting on the Roche entry, one of the judging panel said: “Not only did Roche achieve its goal of a single platform that provided consistency and standardisation, but it also improved working capital visibility and allowed for the reporting of defined metrics to better analyse spend and expenses.”

  • Microsoft – Taking Liquidity Structures to a Whole New Level: Microsoft’s implementation of a completely automated international zero balance account structure has been a game changer for global liquidity management. This initiative has streamlined the cash concentration for hundreds of bank accounts and created a just-in-time funding model for subsidiary operating accounts, all with 100% automation.

Treasury Team of the Year

This award is for the corporate treasury team that can best demonstrate vision and innovation in terms of transforming their treasury department to meet future challenges. The winner will show excellence and resourcefulness across all treasury disciplines – working capital management, corporate finance and funding, liquidity and risk management, etc.

  • Belron – Treasury Evolution: Belron’s treasury team negotiated and closed a complex re-financing last year and has gone on to implement the IT2 Treasury Management System (TMS). The refinancing met or exceeded pricing and maturity expectations in the most demanding market conditions. The STP TMS implementation has improved cash visibility to 95% leading to substantial financial and efficiency benefits.
  • QinetiQ – Delivering a Best-in-class Treasury Services Undertaking: Defence and security company QinetiQ’s treasury team of five people, working across the UK, North America and Australia, has delivered a fast and ambitious turnaround strategy, cutting debts and increasing working capital during a tough economic environment.

In praising the treasury team at QinetiQ, one of the senior members of the awards judging panel said they took “… some good and diverse steps to restore QinetiQ’s financial position.”

  • Live Nation – Integrated Global Cash and Risk Management Platform: A key accomplishment for Live Nation was the creation of an integrated global cash and risk management platform that includes an active foreign exchange (FX) hedging programme and credit card enhancement project. It allows the treasury team to centrally manage all worldwide company cash, FX, interest rate and counterparty risks.

Treasury Technology Implementation Project of the Year

This category covers any aspect of treasury technology. The award will be given to the corporate treasury that developed and implemented an innovative IT project which solved a specific problem or established best practice within the organisation. (Note: Four entries have been shortlisted in this category due to the volume and quality of the entries and a tie in the scoring)

  • Google Inc – M-Pesa Payments Project: Google has overcome the challenge of limited financial infrastructure with its latest African expansion. Working with Citi and Safaricom in Kenya, it has used the renowned M-Pesa mobile money transfer technology to ensure efficient and timely disbursements to field operatives, delivering cost effective, transparent and traceable processes while eliminating the risk of cash handling.
  • Philips Electronics – Next Generation Philips Payment Factory (NGPPF): The NGPPF provides Philips with greater control over the group bank infrastructure and payment processing. It also enables treasury to advise local affiliates on efficient working capital management while at the same time improving trade credit management. Finally, it lays the foundation for enhanced cash forecasting.
  • Celio International – Realising Celio’s Treasury Dream: Celio International’s IT2 TMS implementation was central to the treasury’s move towards a best practice international model. The project was delivered according to scope, on schedule and within budget. It encompasses cash and treasury management, IHB and a payment factory implementation, based around a standardised, robust SWIFT-based communications channel.
  • Toyota Motor Credit Corporation – Transforming to a Daily Collateral Exchange: Using Toyota’s Kaizen methodologies, the corporate treasury became the first to perform daily collateral exchanges with zero thresholds and same day settlement. In addition, unsecured exposure was cut from US$1bn to near zero, providing significant financial benefits to the company. Project partners included SWIFT, Bloomberg Valuation Services and Wall Street Systems.

Explaining why she personally gave the Toyota Collateral Exchange project a high rating, one of the judges’ described it as “pioneering work” and added that “getting 23 banks to agree to a standard format is not a trivial obstacle to overcome.”

Gold Award (Overall Winner)

This award is quite simply the highest scoring entry in the gtnews awards 2012. It recognises excellence in treasury management and honours the corporate treasury operating as a strategic partner to the business.

The Gold Award winner will be announced on the night of the awards on 24 May at the Sofitel Grand Hotel in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It shows a standard of best practice throughout a company’s treasury or ground-breaking innovation in a particular project. The overall top score from among all the entries will win this award and the judges will be looking for truly excellent performance.

Corporate Treasurer of the Year (Readers’ Choice)

The winner of this readers’ choice award will be recognised by their peers as an industry spokesperson and leader – a treasurer who has overcome the challenges posed by the financial and/or eurozone crisis, overcome natural disasters or other impediments to the supply chain, got to grips with regulations and still made an outstanding contribution in treasury.

This category is nominated by and voted on by readers. The biographies of the shortlisted contenders can be seen here.

  • Gary Bischoping Jr, Vice President and Treasurer, Dell.
  • Bill Lowe, SVP, Treasurer, Live Nation Entertainment.
  • Lisa Stone, Group Treasurer, Belron Group.

Many congratulations to all the shortlisted finalists in the gtnews Awards for Global Corporate Treasury 2012, sponsored by BofA Merrill. Every entry that has been shortlisted has demonstrated excellence and best practice in their specialist field. The winners in each category will be announced at the prestigious awards ceremony on 24 May at the Sofitel Grand Hotel in Amsterdam. For more information about how to join the evening’s festivities please click here.

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