Executive Briefings

How Would You Like to Have 120 Days to Pay Your Creditors?

Adopting a tactic widely used by 3G Capital, the Brazilian private investment group behind the recent merger of Heinz and Kraft Foods, a growing number of the world's largest food and packaged goods companies are asking their suppliers to give them as much as four months to pay their bills - even though they typically require payment from their own customers in 30 days.

The tactic has gained in popularity ever since an affiliate of 3G Capital put it to use after it bought Anheuser-Busch in 2008.

In the past, extended payment terms often were a signal that a company was experiencing worrisome cash flow problems, but these days big, robust companies are imposing new schedules on suppliers as a business strategy, analysts say.

Diageo, the European spirits company, now asks for 90 days to pay its bills. Mondelez, Mars and Kellogg seek 120 days. The list of companies doing the same reads like a grocery store version of Who’s Who — Church & Dwight, Procter & Gamble and Heinz are among those wanting more generous payment terms, suppliers said.

Most are trying to maximize use of their capital, bankers who work with supply chain finance say. By pushing out payments to suppliers to three and four months, companies have more cash for any number of projects.

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The tactic has gained in popularity ever since an affiliate of 3G Capital put it to use after it bought Anheuser-Busch in 2008.

In the past, extended payment terms often were a signal that a company was experiencing worrisome cash flow problems, but these days big, robust companies are imposing new schedules on suppliers as a business strategy, analysts say.

Diageo, the European spirits company, now asks for 90 days to pay its bills. Mondelez, Mars and Kellogg seek 120 days. The list of companies doing the same reads like a grocery store version of Who’s Who — Church & Dwight, Procter & Gamble and Heinz are among those wanting more generous payment terms, suppliers said.

Most are trying to maximize use of their capital, bankers who work with supply chain finance say. By pushing out payments to suppliers to three and four months, companies have more cash for any number of projects.

Read Full Article