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Getting businesses off the ground

Article - January 26, 2012

CKC Surmac has introduced novel finance strategies that facilitate and encourage the establishment of new mining enterprises in Suriname

As Suriname’s mining sector continues to attract foreign attention and investment, the revenues it brings will be used to propel local initiatives and the development of other sectors. “At some point in the future we will reach a crossroad where we will have to engage in other sustainable development,” explains Henry Kramer, General Manager of CKC Surmac in Suriname.
 

“We are not yet able to develop our country on our own. We need money. Money still rules the world. In some cases knowledge does as well, but we do not have that either! That is why we need investors to come to Suriname...”

Henry Kramer,
General Manager of CKC Surmac

CKC Surmac, part of Kersten Holding, was founded in 1957 to provide Suriname with high quality technical equipment and is currently the country’s only authorized dealer of Caterpillar (Cat) equipment, which was first brought in to Suriname by the Carson Group in 1941. During World War II the country produced and delivereed 45% of the world’s bauxite. Since then, CKC Surmac has participated in redevelopment projects of the agriculture, infrastructure, forestry and more specifically mining sectors.

Indubitably, CKC Surmac has become a strategic player in Suriname and business is booming. In honor of Cat’s 70th anniversary in Suriname, CKC Surmac developed a US$20 million finance plan of credit lines to help developing businesses move forward. Mr. Kramer explains that, formerly, “It used to be difficult for companies to get equipment and a loan from the bank. It was understood to be a high-risk area.”

With the mining industry booming, a ‘gold fever’ has taken over as Surinamese  business entrepreneurs try to enter the business – though equipment is costly. Having identified this opportunity, CKC Surmac presented businesses with the option of renting. “They pay on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Often people start off by renting equipment for six months, then buy it outright,” he says.  

But Mr. Kramer takes a sober stance on the outlook for the future, recognizing the need for foreign direct investment (FDI): “We are not yet able to develop our country on our own. We need money. Money still rules the world. In some cases knowledge does as well, but we do not have that either! That is why we need investors to come to Suriname to set up companies and start working and be responsible for increasing local content so that our knowledge can increase as well.”

The situation, he says, must be “a win-win situation” for both parties involved, and he also adds: “Win-win is not about 50-50: it is about 100%-100%.”

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