Where is Orbian Now?

This post originally appeared on Trade Financing Matters

Orbian was one of the first companies to really start the ball rolling with supply chain finance. It was conceived and developed in the late 1990’s as a joint venture between SAP and Citibank and became independent a few years later. Orbian’s sole focus is to provide a supply chain finance working capital solution for corporates. Orbian’s SCF model was built to provide an agnostic funding model to large corporations and their suppliers, in essence eliminating the dependency on single bank funded programs. Their stated objective is to create the lowest cost, greatest capacity and greatest security of liquidity upon which the buyer’s working capital goals can be achieved.

Orbian successfully launched the first proprietary U.S. Capital Markets funding program in 2004 through the Orbian Special Purpose Entity (SPE). Each buyer program is funded through a separate Orbian SPE, which, in turn, fund themselves through the issuance of notes (cleared through DTCC or Euroclear) and sold to banks and investors. Suppliers are never exposed to individual funders. At the moment, the vast majority of funding comes from Banks or Corporates themselves buying Orbian notes at Libor plus.

So how are they doing 15 years later? Orbian currently has around 35 programs running, including Fortune 1000 clients such as Autozone, General Mills, Osram (a division of Siemens), and Siemens. Orbian services more than 4,000 customers in 53 countries and 16 different currencies. Probably their biggest client is Siemens Financial Services. Siemens enables their suppliers in China to access RMB financing. There are two types of accounts a supplier can choose to sell his receivables.

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  1. Richard Page:

    Great to see how successful Orbian has become.

    As one of the original two SAP Board Members, Hans Dieter Scheuermann appointed October 1999 and myself in June 2000 being the other. With the key responsibility for marketing I launched Orbian back in 2001.

    The first clients were Pratt & Witney, Home Depot and a couple of others. The first live transactions were processed in August 2001 just days before 9/11. However, the 9/11 attack prompted the sale of Orbian to an Australian magnate. This was prompted by the additional banks lined up to support Orbian withdrawing their intentions to buy into the company shareholdings.

    The two key founding fathers Alan Kay and Roy Hatfield have both since deceased. However, they would be proud to know that their solution has been such a success.

    Thanks to all the numerous SAP staff involved in its original development as well as those from Citibank. A special call out to Bill Follini who was instrumental in working with me to engage with the original clients Pratt & Witney and Stanley Works. Unfortunately Bill passed away shortly after the Orbian launch.

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