Compagnie Française d'Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur
|Traded as||Euronext : COFA|
|François Riahi (chairman of the board of directors) Xavier Durand (CEO)|
|Products||credit insurance, factoring, debt collection, business information|
|Revenue||1355 M€ (2017)|
|Total equity||1802 M€ (2017)|
|Owner||Natixis (41.24%), floating (58.51%), employees (0.25%)|
Number of employees
Coface (Compagnie Française d'Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur) is a credit insurer operating globally, offering companies solutions to protect them against the risk of financial default of their clients, both in their domestic and export market. In complement to credit insurance, Coface also offers debt collection services, factoring and business information, as well as bonds.
Created in 1946, Coface was listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange in 2014. 4,100 staff in 66 countries provide a local service worldwide. Each quarter, Coface publishes its assessments of country risk for 160 countries, based on its knowledge of companies’ payment behaviour and on the expertise of its underwriters.
During the 1990s, Coface developed internationally through internal and external growth, by acquiring credit insurance companies and by creating new subsidiaries or branches. External acquisitions included La Viscontea in 1992 (Italian safety and credit insurance company), London Bridge Finance in 1993 (UK financial company providing credit insurance services), Allgemeine Kredit in 1996 (German company providing domestic and export credit insurance solutions) and Osterreichische Kreditversicherung in 1997 (Austrian credit insurer) along with the acquisition of the Continental portfolio in the USA in 2002. The Group's international development also involved the creation of the Coface Partner network in 1992, which enabled it to conclude partnerships with general insurance groups and banks, notably in emerging markets.
The company was privatized in 1994.
In 2002, Natixis became the majority shareholder of Coface.
In 2006, Coface became a fully owned subsidiary of Natixis (which is itself a subsidiary of Groupe BPCE), comprising corporate and investment banking, asset management and financial services activities.
In 2017, the Group is present directly or indirectly in 100 countries.
Coface offers credit insurance services worldwide. Coface services also include Collection agency services, factoring and business information to prevent non-payment risk, as well as bonds (market, environmental, fiscal etc.).
Credit insurance process
A company dispatches a major order to a new client in a developing market. If the client fails to pay within the agreed timeframe, the company risks insolvency, or even bankruptcy. Credit insurance helps companies avoid this risk.
The credit insurer assesses the financial health of companies' clients, based on a real-time analysis of country, sector and credit risks, and provides information which enables transactions to be carried out more securely. The credit insurer alerts companies of any changes in the financial situation of their clients. If a risk is established, the credit insurer collects debts in their name and guarantees the payment of trade receivables.
In providing this guarantee, credit insurance also enables improved credit and loan conditions from banks.
Country risks assessments
Country risks analysis enables companies to assess the risk of a country's business defaulting, and to evaluate the overall quality of the business environment in the country to which it wishes to export goods or services.
Coface assigns a rating to each of the 160 countries it monitors; this rating reflects the average risk of short-term non-payment for companies in this country. Eight families are used:
- A1: very low risk
- A2: low risk
- A3: quite acceptable risk
- A4: acceptable risk
- B: significant risk
- C: high risk
- D: very high risk
- E: extreme risk
Coface publishes its country risks assessments on a quarterly basis.
Equivalent in the world
- Germany: Euler Hermes
- United States: Export-Import Bank of the United States
- United Kingdom: UK Export Finance
- Italy: Servizi Assicurativi del Commercio Estero