Counter-Guarantee for exporters
Insuring export business as exporter
As of 01.07.2014 the Federal Government will offer an optimized version of the Counter-Guarantee with the aim to reduce the inevitable administrative burden and to improve legal certainty for all involved.
Fundamentally the following changes, which will further reduce the complexity of this product, will become effective for all first decisions taken on or after 01.07.2014:
- The Federal Government charges the first premium payable for the period until the end of the first calendar year as advance premium.
- Subsequent premium payments will be invoiced only once a year.
- The 20-day deadline with regard to the effectiveness of the Counter-Guarantee does not apply any more.
- The approval of the Federal Government for an extension of guarantees which are limited in time is no longer required.
Counter-Guarantee at a glance
The Counter-Guarantee complements a Contract Bond Guarantee and thus cannot be used independently. It enables German exporters to ease the pressure on their credit lines. Especially small and medium-sized companies can enhance their liquidity with it.
The Counter-Guarantee provides security (it is a guarantee commitment) in favour of the guarantor. The guarantor can be a bank or surety company. The Counter-Guarantee relieves the guarantor in large part of the risk that he is unable to successfully take recourse for compensation to the exporter. If the bond is called, the Federal Government will reimburse the guarantor for the guaranteed share of the bond amount paid out (maximum 80%). The reimbursement is made on first demand and, above all, irrespective of the reason for calling. Hence the Counter-guarantee is more than just an indemnity bond and a reimbursement is made also in case of a fair calling.
The Federal Government has a recourse claim on the exporter in the amount paid out to the guarantor. This is payable 6 months after the guarantor is reimbursed at the latest. If by that time it has been confirmed that the exporter has a valid indemnification claim under the corresponding Contract Bond Guarantee because the contract bond was called, this will be set off against the claim to recourse. Although a bond issued on request of the exporter is called, there would be no liquidity drain at the exporter in that case.
- As applicant: German export firms
- As beneficiaries of the Counter-Guarantee:
- German banks / surety companies
- branch offices of foreign banks / surety companies with a seat in Germany
- foreign banks / surety companies (under certain conditions)
Although the Counter-Guarantee protects the guarantor, it is the exporter who has to apply for it and not the guarantor.
As a rule, a Counter-Guarantee will only be granted if parallel a Contract Bond Guarantee for the contract bond to be covered is granted by the Federal Republic. In principle, supplier credit cover is also required. This may be dispensed with if the exporter is not exposed to any foreign payment risks because of the payment terms (e.g. confirmed letter of credit, progress payment). On a case-by-case basis, the Federal Government may grant a Counter-Guarantee in combination with a Contract Bond Guarantee also without cover of the other risks of an export transaction if such cover is not available or insurance is not acceptable or not wished by the exporter.
Whether a Counter-Guarantee will be granted is conditional upon the exporter having the necessary technical and organizational resources to ensure the due performance of the export transaction. The exporter’s ability to ensure performance is assessed by means of a questionnaire to be completed by him.
From the moment a Counter-Guarantee is granted until a reimbursement is made the administration will be handled exclusively between the Federal Government and the guarantor. For this purpose the guarantor has to sign a so-called “Ergänzungserklärung des Garantiestellers zur Avalgarantie” prior to the final commitment and also perform certain information duties in time.
- No extra premium is charged for a Counter-Guarantee. Instead, the Federal Government receives a share in the bond premium, which the exporter had to pay to the guarantor for issuing a contract bond, directly from the guarantor.
- The usual premium has to be paid for the compulsory Contract Bond Cover and any Supplier Credit Cover which may be required.
Apply for Counter-Guarantee
Please use the digital application form in the myAGA customer portal to apply for cover for your export transaction. To do this you need to register for my AGA once which is easily done with just a few steps. If you already use myAGA, you can directly log in with your access data. If you need assistance with the application or if you have any questions regarding the appropriate product, please do not hesitate to contact our business consultants.
What is guaranteed?
A Counter-Guarantee provides security for the exporter in favour of the guarantor for the loss up to 80% of the bond sum paid out by the latter. Payment guarantees assumed by the guarantor in excess of the actual bond amount, such as interest, compensation for damages, legal or other costs are in principle not insurable. An exception here is a Counter-Guarantee given in respect of an ad - vance payment bond. This also covers the interest normally in - cluded in the bond.
What conditions does the exporter have to fulfil in order to get a Counter-Guarantee?
As a rule, the granting of a Contract Bond Guarantee for the contract bond in question is a precondition for getting a Counter-Guarantee. In turn, this is, on principle, only given in connection with a principal guarantee. A principal guarantee can be dispensed with if cover of the other risks involved is not possible, not reasonable or not wanted by the exporter. However, it is always necessary to have a corresponding Contract Bond Guarantee. A Counter-Guarantee can also be granted for covered business which is already being transacted if
- a principal guarantee and a Contract Bond Guarantee have already been granted
- so far only a principal guarantee exists but the granting of a Contract Bond Guarantee is still possible because the contract bond has not yet been issued or
- the main transaction has not been covered and cannot be covered for lack of risks that are eligible for cover (e.g. payment under an irrevocable letter of credit) but the granting of a Contract Bond Guarantee is still possible because the underlying contract bond has not yet been issued.
In addition, it is necessary for the exporter to prove that he has the organisational and technological resources to ensure due performance of the export transaction. The assessment of the exporter’s ability to ensure performance is done mainly by means of a questionnaire to be filled out by him. The maximum liability of the Federal Government in respect of all Counter-Guarantees assumed is EUR 80 million per exporter. Subject to certain conditions this limit on the maximum exposure may be exceeded in individual cases if that turns out to be necessary due to the special nature of the transaction.
What period is the Counter-Guarantee valid for?
The commitment undertaken by the Federal Government begins in respect of guarantees already issued immediately with the receipt of the letter of confirmation from the Federal Government. In respect of a guarantee which has not been issued the commitment undertaken by the Federal Government begins when the guarantee is actually issued. If, in praxis, the coming into effect of the guarantee is taken as basis, the commitment undertaken by the Federal Government also begins with the coming into effect of the guarantee and not with its issuance. It expires when any alteration of the bond which increases the risk is undertaken at the instigation of the exporter, but without obtaining the consent of the Federal Government, e.g. in terms of the volume, or at the latest when the liability of the guarantor under the contract bond ends. Any prolongations of guarantees limited in time must be notified to the Federal Government. The expiry of the guarantee must be reported to the Federal Government for each type of guarantee/risk block by means of a so-called release declaration.
When will the Counter-Guarantee become effective?
A Counter-Guarantee given by the Federal Government takes effect upon receipt of the letter of confirmation from the Federal Government. The Counter-Guarantee would become ineffective only if the guarantor failed to pay the premium within the term of payment set by the Federal Government even after receiving a letter of reminder; in such a case it is up to the guarantor to maintain the effectiveness by making payment within the time limit.
Do you have any additional questions regarding a Counter-Guarantee?
Our experts will be pleased to answer any questions regarding a Counter-Guarantee and will guide you step by step through the application process if desired.