The Royal Agriculture University, had ambitions of expanding their Wiltshire campus, with plans to increase student numbers.
With the UK then in the early stages of recovery from the Recession, the University turned to China in their quest to raise around £350m. CUK was engaged to work alongside Prof Chris Mullard and Prof Kanes Rajar to find a suitable financial partner.
CUK has excellent relationships in China, not only with Government and private sector business, but also with a comprehensive network of investors. Using our in-depth knowledge resulting from our role as investor advisors in the region, we identified a world renowned investment company who were looking for a foot in the door to the UK education market, so the fit was good.
Following initial briefings and Skype conversations chaired by CUK, Prof Mullard travelled to China to meet the investor. CUK hosted a formal meeting in Shanghai which went well and culminated in an extension on to dinner. Those of you who have been to China and experienced the warm hospitality, will appreciate that the evening was filled with good humour and relationship building.
Creating a bedrock of trust and understanding is Stage One of the relationship building process – and by the end of the night, we were delighted that both parties had agreed in principle to work together to achieve the desired outcome.
However, we were very aware that this was not the time to rest on our laurels and to assume it was a ‘done deal’. Indeed, most overseas businesses attempting to enter the Chinese market, do manage to get to the ‘agreement in principle’ stage. But our wealth of experience in China/UK relations has taught us that it is at the next hurdle that many businesses fall by the wayside as communications, and inevitably relationships, start to fade and interest on the Chinese side wanes.
Our skill is in keeping the dialogue moving along to skillfully close the sale by utlising our knowledge of the Chinese system and culture to negotiate the many possible pitfalls along the way. In this case, Prof Mullard and Prof Kanes worked alongside CUK as did the investor, a mutually beneficial deal was reached and the funds were transferred within six months of the first meeting.