E&E Global Inc.
Sujith Niyangoda has been working in the export business since 1994. Prior to founding E&E Global Inc. (EEG) in 2007, Niyangoda worked for Tyson Foods, a national processor of poultry and meat items such as chicken, beef and pork. Over that time, he gained comprehensive knowledge in production, distribution, sales and marketing with a main focus on international trade.
Niyangoda has become very knowledgeable of various aspects related to exports, such as export requirements, USDA regulations and international logistics. Over the years, Niyangoda has built strong, strategic partnerships with clients all over the world.
By founding EEG, Niyangoda was able to take his practice to the next level and reach out to new suppliers and customers. For the first five years, EEG represented another export company. “All of our transactions were financed by another company during that time,” explains Niyangoda. “I worked essentially as an agent. In 2012, we took over our own financing. We have had a steady flow of clients and we are building strategic partners. We can fill our customers’ needs by shipping products from the United States to various overseas destinations. Today we export frozen meat and poultry products to more than 20 different countries.”
Tasty Products, Knowledgeable Staff
EEG maintains a small, but efficient and knowledgeable office staff. Working closely with suppliers, clients and strategic partners, the experienced team casts a broad net.
“We handle much of our business by phone and email,” continues Niyangoda. “We hire freight forwarders and other transportation and logistics specialists to do most of the labor intensive work. This enables us to focus more on our customers’ needs. We work with a processing facility to co-pack a private labeled line of processed meats, such as sausages, hams and bacon for the Korean market.”
Serving an exclusively foreign market, the crew is well-versed in the potential obstacles to business. Regardless of freight barriers and regulations, EEG is able to deliver quality product to importers and distributors across the globe.
Niyangoda was one of the first representatives from the industry to establish a market for U.S. poultry in Cuba since the Cold War. “That aspect is still a key part of our business,” Niyangoda explains. “We have a special license issued by U.S. Department of Commerce that is renewed every year, which specifically authorizes us to export agricultural goods to Cuba. Several years ago, after their domestic industry was devastated by a hurricane, Cuba was in need of food aid. At that time Clinton Administration offered President Castro food aid. However Castro said, ‘We don’t need it for free, we want to pay for it.’ Then Clinton Administration passed the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act [TSRA] of 2000. This allows U.S. Department of Commerce to issue licenses for companies interested in doing business with Cuba.”
According to Niyangoda, the licenses are strictly for food supply and agricultural goods. “This does not allow us to have direct financial arrangements with Cuba,” he continues. “The Cuban importer opens a Letter of Credit that is negotiable through a foreign bank, we ship our products and then we are paid through the foreign bank.”
Thriving in a Changing Market
Niyangoda and his team have managed to maintain steady business throughout the recent recession. Still, the business faces challenges unique to its industry. Demand for food continues to grow with expanding populations around the globe. With recent agricultural challenges, such as high cost of corn and changing regulations, prices have been higher than ever. “Raw materials are our largest expense right now,” Niyangoda explains. “That makes it harder to turn a profit and we have seen margins drop.”
There have also been challenges due to the broad-span nature of EEG’s operations.” We deal with trade barriers that are being imposed by some countries,” he continues. “There is an over-supply that sometimes combines with currency devaluation, which can be a disaster. We had a situation where we were hit by both at the same time maybe five years ago. We just had to hang in there. There wasn’t really anything we could do about it.”
The company’s continued success all boils down to relationships. The market is increasingly competitive, with more businesses in the running and fewer clients to serve. Niyangoda and his team have established lasting partnerships with a number of major brands. Poultry makes up approximately 80 percent of revenue for the business, with approximately 20 percent in other meats and further processed product.
Now that the business is self-financing, Niyangoda strives to maintain strong relationships with lenders. “Our goal is to continue to do what we do and not to over-extend ourselves,” he explains.
In the coming years, Niyangoda is aiming for steady growth with continued stability. “We need to understand that we are working in a global economy and to make sure there are certain mechanisms in place to be successful in this environment,” he continues. “The key to our success will be our partners’ success.” Continuing a dedication to customers, quality and integrity, E&E Global Inc. is looking ahead to a steady presence in the international food market.