What began primarily as a lending relationship has grown into a multi-layered, global banking partnership with HSBC solutions giving Quorn Foods more control and visibility over cash management and FX through a single point-of-access to accounts around the world.
Launched in 1985 and based in England, Quorn Foods offers meat free food products that use mycoprotein to replicate the taste and texture of meat. Manufactured and sold by Marlow Foods, Quorn products are marketed as a healthy protein that delivers all the benefits of meat with reduced levels fat, calories and cholesterol.
The UK's #1 meat free brand since the late 1980s, Quorn has steadily expanded distribution. Today their products can be found on supermarket shelves in 14 countries throughout Europe, Australia, Africa and the U.S.
The Business Relationship
Quorn's relationship (under current ownership) with HSBC began in 2011 when the company was sold to a Private Equity group. HSBC served as the lead senior debt and working capital provider for that deal and has since worked on three further refinancings with them. Andrew Trinder, Group Financial Controller at Quorn, says, "The HSBC team has been instrumental in showing us ways we could pay off some of our more expensive loans in favour of increased senior debt. It's been a valuable relationship for us."
As the relationship strengthened, Quorn began moving much of its banking to HSBC and is currently using a variety of the Bank's cash management, FX and trading, corporate cards and purchasing cards solutions.
Until recently, Quorn's business model involved working with separate agencies in each country to distribute its products locally. Recently, however, the company began operating a direct sales model in the U.S. and Germany. The disparate business models combined with Quorn's ongoing global expansion added complexity to their payments and cash management processes.
To help simplify processes, the company began funnelling most of its banking through HSBCnet - from payments and receivables through to FX. "With HSBCnet we can see all our HSBC accounts in one place," states Mr. Trinder. "Whether that's in the UK, Germany or the U.S. It's a great solution for a global company."
Specifically, Quorn uses the online banking platform to initiate payments to suppliers around the world from a variety of funding accounts. The system also allows them to manage payroll and pay employees locally. "It's very easy to log on and review the payments that need authorising," he says." Plus, we can run reports as well as download the details for transactions and upload them right into our accounting systems to make reconciliation faster and simpler."
All receipts are deposited electronically as well. This includes cheques from the U.S., which are scanned by Quorn sales representatives onsite and fed directly into HSBCnet. "Europe doesn't really use cheques anymore," explains Mr. Trinder. "So it's particularly convenient that HSBC is able to help us adapt in markets that operate differently from what we're used to."
Since Quorn holds all their currency accounts with HSBC, they are also able to use HSBCnet to initiate forward contracts for a much more convenient solution compared to having to do FX-related transactions by phone.
Mr. Trinder also says that they appreciate the layers of security HSBCnet offers. "While it seemed a bit complicated at first, we realise that's what's needed. It's effective and professional, and honestly it's the only thing that's complicated about HSBCnet. The system itself is intuitive and very easy to use and we're able to train people and get them on-board quickly." He goes on, "The teams have been very proactive in showing us how to maximise the capabilities HSBCnet has to offer."
In addition to HSBCnet, it's the Bank's global network that Quorn really values. "HSBC's global network is critical to us as we grow our presence around the world," Mr. Trinder explains. "It's great to work with one partner - I can contact my Global Relationship Director here in the UK and quickly get connected to another Relationship Manager or specialist in a specific country to answer my question. It's an incredible benefit."
Europe doesn't really use cheques anymore so it's particularly convenient that HSBC is able to help us adapt in markets that operate differently from what we're used to.Andrew Trinder, Group Financial Controller at Quorn
"We're in the process of opening accounts in Italy and Spain, and I know from experience it will be a smooth process," Mr. Trinder says. "HSBC works to make the account opening experience as consistent as possible from country to country, which is not easy given differing requirements and regulations. Once set up, we'll be able to see balances and activity here in the UK - and we know we'll be able to pay employees and make other payments directly as well as receive cheques locally."