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An Optimistic Look Ahead for Food and Agriculture Leasing

Date: Jan 16, 2014 @ 07:00 AM
Filed Under: Food & Agriculture

Meredith: Above all, our customers recognize that by working with DLL, they are able to leverage a global network—either expanding their current operations or enabling them to enter new markets. We have a presence in more than 30 countries with full service local teams who fully support our vendor partners and their dealers long after the initial agreement is signed.

Equipment Finance Advisor: We notice that the State of the Industry Report put out by the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation and commentary by the economist at the ELFA’s 2013 annual conference suggest investment in agricultural equipment will pull back a bit in the coming months. How will these factors be best utilized going forward in the food and agriculture leasing sector given this outlook?

Meredith: Certainly, it’s important to recognize what has driven our successes to date and to consider how these offerings can be best leveraged going forward, but we also have to take a realistic look at the marketplace and consider what our customers really want and need in the future.

Looking ahead to 2014 and beyond, I can reiterate what many industry economists have anticipated to be a period with only moderate to slightly improved sales across Food and Agriculture. External factors, such as an expected drop in some commodity prices will have an important impact on farm incomes and may ultimately reduce purchasing. DLL is already seeing this to some extent through the Equipment Leasing and Finance Report’s Q4 Update, stating that F&A investment is expected to contract up to 4% in Q3 and Q4. In addition, headwinds in the macro economic environment and regulatory hurdles will only compound the challenges we are realizing at an individual business unit level.

However, we will not simply accept these limitations. In order to overcome them, it is important to find solutions to innovate and to expand the business. DLL has made some strategic decisions to grow existing programs and to develop new ones. For example, DLL continues to have a robust business development program and is looking into new asset classes where it did not have a traditional presence. A good example here is the financing of wine barrels.

Equipment Finance Advisor: As you look to the short term, are there any enhancements that DLL will offer its partners in this sector to better serve their needs?

Meredith: DLL is quite aware that it needs to continue doing more digitally. In 2013, DLL enhanced its e-Commerce capabilities including an upgraded web application system that offers credit approval 24/7. In several cases, these approvals are obtained automatically. DLL is making additional investments to ensure that the majority of credit requests are approved that way.

Equipment Finance Advisor: Is there anything you would like to add in considering the long term in the Food and Agricultural equipment finance sector?

Meredith: In terms of the long-term prospects for this sector, I look at a growing global population and demand to feed 9 billion people by 2050. Despite economic influences and seasonal fluctuations, this is a very real projection and one that bodes well for agriculture. DLL will address this need in a way that inspires the sustainability ambitions of our partners and in a way that supports our own sustainability vision.

Going forward, DLL will continue to invest in the relationship with its partners, on the development of new finance products, and in the development of the business in the food processing and packaging segments. To continue doing well in F&A we will continue to align our business objectives with those of our customers — it is only through them that we can create win-win-win experiences.

Equipment Finance Advisor Staff Writer
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