A long history of acquisitions has made $31 billion Honeywell International a conglomerate with businesses that operate independently in more than 100 countries and in a wide variety of currencies. These legal entities do a lot of buying from and selling to each other, allowing corporate treasury to adopt a multilateral netting solution that led to an 89% reduction in funds transfers, an 80% drop in settlement costs and a silver award. "We were wasting millions of dollars by having those businesses use gross settlement," says Panji Winanteya Ruky, senior regional treasury manager.
The reduction in foreign exchange trades brought significant savings to Honeywell. It now channels over 3,500 invoices a month with a value greater than $700 million through the netting center, with 80% of intercompany invoices now netted and settled through the center. Honeywell treasury estimates that the project has freed up more than 20 employees from intercompany settlement tasks. What used to take an accounting team four days to reconcile can now be done in just two.
One key to the project's success was outsourcing the netting center to Bank Mendes Gans, a Dutch bank with experience running such centers. "We use a third party to get expertise and scalability and avoid the costs and time delays of setting up our own center," says Ruky. Now each business can settle with only one net amount on a preset settlement date.
Outsourcing the center still left treasury with plenty to do. It had to get buy-in from executives at the company's four strategic business units, since treasury doesn't have the authority to enforce a solution on its own. And it had to work on three continents, and especially in Eastern Europe and the Asia Pacific region, to be sure the solution could accommodate a variety of FX controls, time zone differences, and inefficient payments and clearing systems, Ruky reports.