The German factoring market 2012


Factoring 2012: Stabilised high level of turnover

[Berlin, 20th of March 2013] Following the disproportionately high growth in turnover of nearly 19% last year, the high total volume of outstanding balances bought by the factoring companies of more than 157 billion Euro was stabilised in 2012. Therefore, 2012 turned out as another successful year for the German factoring industry. “Last year’s high level of turnover was defended successfully in an increasingly difficult macroeconomic environment”, concludes Joachim Secker, spokesman of the German Factoring Association's executive board.

From the factoring clients’ point of view, factoring is still very much in demand. This is illustrated by the number of factoring clients, which rose to approximately 17,100, a new maximum and notable increase by 17.12% in comparison to 2011. Factoring has therefore established and embedded itself as an instrument to finance means of production and to collateralise and safeguard against risks, especially in the SME sector.

Although the German economy had a vigorous start in 2012, it lost some momentum during the course of the year so that the German economy’s total growth only amounted to 0.7%. The figures of the German Factoring Association reflect this: After an increase in factoring turnover by 2.69% during the first half, a minus of 2.35% could be noted during the second half of 2012. Moreover, some factoring companies associated in the German Factoring Association underwent changes which were connected with the orientation of their company groups. These changes also contributed to not as much new business being made as in previous years.

Accordingly, the factoring ratio (referring to the ratio between the total of outstanding balances bought by the factoring companies associated in the German Factoring Association and the GDP) dropped just below the magical 6%-hurdle (5.95%). Despite this slight decrease, the turnover of the factoring companies associated in the German Factoring Association once more corresponds to approximately 6% of the total German GDP! This figure clearly illustrates the relevance which factoring by now holds in the German economy.

The top 5 of the most important key industries in factoring remained unchanged: Trade and trade negotiation, services, manufacturing of metal objects and machine construction, the food/nutrition industry and metal production and processing are still dominant. Remarkable losses were noted in the textile and clothing industry as well as in the production of furniture, jewelry, etc. (down by three degrees, respectively), whereas the transport and telecommunications sector went up four degrees (now on position 15).

In relation to the total factoring turnover, the share of inhouse factoring has once more increased slightly in 2012 and now amounts to 80.12%, while full service factoring declined slightly to 16.54%. This confirms the last years’ long-term trend towards inhouse solutions in factoring. Maturity factoring remained almost unchanged at 3.34%.

The debt crisis in some European countries as well as the instabilities of the global financial markets showed their effects upon the ex- and import economy and led to reluctant approaches to, inter alia, investments. Unfortunately, this almost global trend also had an impact on the international factoring business in Germany: Due to the increasing dependencies on the order inflow in manufacturing and trade, the uncertainties stemming from the state debt crisis in Europe particularly affected some factoring industries in the consumer goods area, especially in the import sector.

Export factoring declined slightly by minus 1.08% to 34.12 billion Euro, while the import business clearly decreased by 15.87% to 3.07 billion Euro. The changes in the ranking of the most important factoring partner countries and regions illustrates that the financial system crisis in other parts of the world also has an influence on international business: Italy went down two degrees to position 6 and the USA slipped a notch to position 10. The average collection period increased somewhat and now amounts to 41.4 days (in comparison to 40.7 days in 2011); here, a hesitant payment history showed its effects.

Notwithstanding, in 2012, the national economy operated in a positive domestic environment with sturdy growth and low unemployment rates. This is documented by the figures for the national factoring business, where the result of 120.23 billion Euro show an increase of almost 1% in comparison to 2011 (119.11 billion Euro).

With regards to the future development, the members of the German Factoring Association have a nearly unchanged optimistic view of the year 2013: Just under 67% of the members expect at least a “good” development, 33% predict an at least “satisfactory“ development of the business.

Contact details:

Deutscher Factoring-Verband e. V.
RA Dr. jur. Alexander M. Moseschus, Verbandsgeschäftsführer/Managing Director
Behrenstr. 73, 10117 Berlin, Germany

Telephone: +49-(0)30-206 546 54
Fax: +49-(0)030-206 546 56
E-Mail: kontakt(at)