Finding the right partner for the job
STANEY PULLOLICKEL Treasurer of the Year – Regional
For Staney Pullolickel, finding the right partner has been key to ensuring the success of his initiatives in Iraq. The treasurer of GE Power & Energy Connections for the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia has had the tall task of supporting the company’s power projects in Iraq by securing the necessary funding.
GE Power has won contracts with Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity to build new power plants, as well as technology upgrades and maintenance. GE Power will add more than 700MW of power to the country’s power grid.
“Several years ago you didn’t have a scenario where you would even need to talk about financing with your customers. It was a given that customers had capital. You just had to focus on the technical capabilities of the products you were selling to them. However in today’s environment, financing is not just an enabler but a key driver to sales,” explains Pullolickel.
Arranging financing for the GE Power project had been challenging. The plunge in oil prices and ongoing war against the Islamic State are deepening the nation’s financial challenges and keeping most banks cautious.
When Pullolickel first brought up the Iraqi project funding opportunity with his core banking partners none of them could think of a solution and were additionally cautious about project and government risks.
After countless hours of business enquiries and negotiations, Pullolickel decided to work with Standard Chartered in crafting a sound financing structure that would benefit all parties involved.
The structure involved utilizing Standard Chartered’s distribution platform in reaching out to investors and regional partner banks. “The bank needs to have the breadth to work with other financial intermediaries. You won’t be able to come up with a solution in isolation in today’s market,” highlights Pullolickel. GE also brought outside commitments, attracting more than nine major global export credit agencies into Iraq.
As a result, GE Power in November signed agreements with the Trade Bank of Iraq and Standard Chartered to develop power and infrastructure projects in Iraq. It was a testament to Pullolickel’s expertise in choosing the right banking partner to share in his company’s vision.
“The bank has to share my vision. If I am happy to do business in Iraq, that vision needs to be shared by my banking partner as well,” says Pullolickel. “A partner for me is one who understands what I’m selling, understands my customers, understands my needs and structures an appropriate solution.”
Pullolickel adds that global banks need to be nimble and adapt to local markets to win new markets. Going forward, he plans to increasingly look at partnering with local banks to support customer financing. Their familiarity and willingness to work with local governments would be an advantage.
Having been with GE for about a decade, Pullolickel is most proud of being able to progressively influence the way the organization deals with its banking partners. “One of the things I have done is to view the concept of a banking relationship from a holistic standpoint. It’s the culmination of all the banking elements which we have with the bank, into one window so that we derive the best out of our partners,” he notes. “For transaction banking we look at technology as a key parameter. The bank needs to be technologically advanced to support us. They should also demonstrate a high-level of expertise to support all GE businesses across the spectrum.”
When looking at the future of his regional treasury operations, Pullolickel plans to implement new measures that will further optimize GE Power’s treasury function.
“It is critical to localize decision-making. As a company we are empowering the commercial and business teams to make decisions locally. We are making them take risks and manage their operations locally,” says Pullolickel.“Reducing the number of banking touch points and modelling structures with our banking partners that enable growth are areas which I would really want to focus on going forward.”