Photo courtesy of Ceilings Plus Inc.
Ceilings Plus Inc. is a small, woman-owned business that manufactures high-quality ceiling and wall panels. The company began exporting about five years ago, and more than 50 percent of its sales are now from exports.
The company first came to the attention of Ex-Im Bank in 2007 via a lender, Bank of the West, regarding its pre-export working capital needs. Ceilings Plus had won $18 million contract for the expansion project of the Doha International Airport in Qatar. Although the company was successful in the United States, this was its first international deal, and a $2.2 million performance bond and collateral were required.
Ex-Im Bank's guarantee of a working capital loan enabled Ceilings Plus to access funds that would have otherwise been tied-up in the performance bond. The company subsequently was awarded an $11 million contract for Phase II of the project, for which Ex-Im’s guarantee was used again to support financing for issuance of a performance bond.
The Bank’s working capital guarantee has been instrumental. Due to its increased foreign sales growth, Ceilings Plus has increased its workforce from 86 employees in April 2008 to 150 employees in April 2011.
"Ex-Im Bank has engaged in steady collaboration with our company and our local bank to provide the financial support we needed. This helped give us the confidence to venture into the international world. Ceilings Plus sales have more than doubled and have increased our employment with the help of Ex-Im," said Ceilings Plus President Nancy Mercolino.