How Wesfarmers Uses PrimeRevenue to Manage 2,600 Suppliers

In managing a world of suppliers, the Australian conglomerate has a platform that allows it to play its banks like it’s conducting an orchestra. Group treasurer Cliff Allison explains.

Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers is a big and complex operation. It runs supermarkets, hotels, department stores and retailers of liquor, office supplies and conveniences.

Its industrials division stretches from fertilisers and energy to chemicals and coal. It employs 220,000 people and last year had total revenues of A$68 billion ($53 billion).

With a supply chain that has to coordinate 2,628 suppliers for seven entities – including some of the largest retailers in Australia – across 33 jurisdictions involving four currencies and six banks, keeping all the elements of its supply chain functioning is an operation of withering complexity.

Six years ago, the conglomerate turned to PrimeRevenue – a working capital financial technology solutions provider – for a multi-funder supply chain finance programme that could leverage its relationship with banks to support its extensive supply chain network.

Today that programme has as much as $500 million in payments outstanding at any one time.

For Wesfarmers group treasurer Cliff Allison the main feature of the platform is that, as well as offering competitive pricing, it gives its suppliers and businesses flexibility.
“We entered into this arrangement with PrimeRevenue with a view to offering it to our businesses such that they make the decision themselves whether they want to use it or not and how they roll it out,” Allison told CT.

“Some did it on a mass basis and some do it on a case-by-case basis, so for every business it was different. It’s taken quite a few years to roll it out to where it is now, and there are still quite a lot of opportunities.”

“At Wesfarmers we have sales revenue of approaching A$70 billion and payments to suppliers of A$65 billion and at the moment on this platform we are trading about A$2.5 to A$3 billion a year.”

Pricing perfect
Allison says the platform is primarily targeted at its overseas suppliers who, he says, are better able to accept the concept of supply chain finance as opposed to Australian suppliers who have less flexible rebate arrangements and payment terms.

“One of the things we wanted to do with this supply chain platform was provide the best pricing possible,” Allison said. “Basically the pricing Wesfarmers gets from its banks is the pricing we want to give to the suppliers – so it’s as cheap as possible for them.

The only benefit we get out of the platform is by extending payment terms. As long as the calculation is such that the cheap financing offsets expensive financing of the supplier then there’s a benefit.”

Unlike some companies, Wesfarmers, he says, has no intention of using the platform squeeze its suppliers. “I know with some supply chain financing platforms the provider adds on margins and gets money out of it, but that just seems pointless to us,” he said.

“Most of our businesses run every day low prices models so every cost you introduce into the supply chain eventually ends up in the cost of the product – that’s our philosophy.
“I guess that’s why it’s been taken up quite easily by our suppliers,” he said. “The feedback we get is that they think it’s fantastic.

“They like the pricing and it’s really just the click of a button – it’s just so easy to operate.

“If one of our businesses extends their business terms from 30 to 60 days, even though there’s an extra 30 days cost to the supplier it’s easily offset by being able to get their money early.”

Orchestrating funding
Wesfarmers now has six banks on the platform – BNP Paribas, Westpac, National Australia Bank, ANZ, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Commonwealth Bank – allowing its businesses to choose the right bank at the right time.

“Having multiple banks on the platform make life a lot easier,” Allison said. “You’ve got competitive tension between the banks so you can get good pricing, but also each bank has its own strengths and weaknesses.

“Some banks are able to deal with certain suppliers in certain countries, some banks can deal with suppliers in any country, some banks can only deal in certain currencies – some in US dollars and some in Aussie dollars.

“It’s terrific having different banks that can provide different strengths and weaknesses. When you have just one bank’s platform you’re very much beholden to that bank and its strengths and weaknesses.”

KYC challenges
While the platform runs smoothly, Allison said regulatory issues surrounding the supply chain environment were emerging as a challenge for suppliers.

“Each of the funding providers has to go through a KYC [know-your-customer] process into the suppliers and that KYC process is becoming more and more onerous for suppliers,” he said.

“In the past few years, some banks have decided they need to do it on a more regular basis like every three years and they’re digging deeper and deeper – they need to know beneficial ownership and that kind of thing.”

Homebase blues
Wesfarmers itself has not been without recent challenges, not least it’s a $1 billion writedown of British retailer Homebase, which it acquired for A$705 million in 2016.

Allison did not want to comment on the high-profile case, saying as treasurer he was only involved to the extent of providing short and long-term funding to the UK retailer.

Ultimately, he said, Wesfarmers was big enough to absorb the challenge.

“My job is to provide the debt capital for the businesses to operate and I just continue to do that,” he told CT. “We’re Standard & Poor’s rated A- and Moody’s is A3.”

He said the impact on the business was reflected in the sang froid of the rating agencies response to the Homebase writedown.

“S&P made a release after our announcement saying there’d be no impact and Moody’s decided not to make a release at all.”

CTWeek, Asia’s premier independent corporate treasury event, is closing in fast (7-8 March, Singapore). Continuing from last year’s successes, we will deliver masterclass sessions supported by content partners and guided by our advisory board, including treasurers from Alibaba, Astra International, and Danone. The event will coincide with our prestigious CorporateTreasurer Awards ceremony and the exciting launch of FinTank, the world’s first live competition focused on treasury solutions.

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Stephanie Wargo

VP, Global Head of Marketing

Stephanie joined PrimeRevenue in 2015 and oversees the company’s global marketing team and strategy. With a data-driven approach, Stephanie focuses on demand generation and thought leadership to drive brand awareness, strengthen client/partner relationships, and generate new sales opportunities. Stephanie has guided PrimeRevenue through new technology releases and an evolving FinTech landscape. In addition to leading PrimeRevenue’s internal and external communications, she implemented innovative demand generation and marketing strategies to enhance the company’s overall sales pipeline.

Stephanie has extensive experience in marketing and customer success. She previously served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications at BitPay and Vice President of Client Relations and Marketing at FirstView Financial. Stephanie earned a B.A. degree in Political Science from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.

Brian Medley

VP, Global Head of Sales

Brian joined PrimeRevenue in early 2012, after more than 20 years of sales leadership, executive-level consultant and business growth experience. As VP, Global Head of Sales, Brian leads a growing team of fintech sales professionals with a focus on developing strong customer relationships, improving sales predictability and helping PrimeRevenue enter the lucrative mid-market.

Prior to PrimeRevenue, Brian honed his enterprise software sales leadership skills at Clarus Corporation. He also served as an operations and IT management consultant for Kurt Salmon Associates. In addition to his sales and consulting background, Brian has deep experience in the financial industry having founded a successful residential mortgage broker and lending business. He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology having earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and Economics and M.B.A. in Global Business.

Jason Green

SVP, Global Customer Success

Jason joined PrimeRevenue in 2021 following more than two decades in the fintech/financial services industry. He brings a strong background is sales leadership due to his impressive relationship building capability as well as a successful track record in creating structure and process improvements. In his role, Jason uses his keen attention to detail to strengthen the customer experience and enhance the company’s solutions to deliver more value to clients.

Prior to joining the company, Jason held several senior level and executive roles with a focus on building and scaling sales and support organizations at both large and small companies. Jason graduated from Murray State University with a B.S in Marketing.

Matt Ford

SVP, Global Product Innovation

Matt joined PrimeRevenue in early 2015 and is responsible for overseeing all commercial, strategic and operational aspects of PrimeRevenue’s supply chain finance offerings throughout EMEA, based in Prague. He has been instrumental in gaining global alignment and developing supplier enablement processes for the region.

Matt joined PrimeRevenue following a 15-year career at Morgan Stanley, where he worked in fixed income operations covering debt syndication through bonds, EMTNS, corporate loans and other debt securitization. Notably, he set up non-core location operations in Europe (Budapest) and all lending operations in Baltimore from scratch.

Matt, who was born and raised in South East England, earned a B.S. in Sports Science at University of Teesside where he mastered the art of TEAM development and accountability as a youth international rugby player.

Dominic Capolongo

EVP, Global Head of Funding

Dominic joined PrimeRevenue in 2016, and is responsible for leading our bank and capital markets funding strategies and execution. He focuses on building global, scalable and highly efficient funding structures that maximize options for supporting PrimeRevenue’s programs. Dominic began his career as an attorney and was a partner with Kaye Scholer before joining DLJ as a senior banker. Dominic brings tremendous strategic and capital markets experience in all areas of finance having held senior positions at, among others, Credit Suisse and RBC Capital Markets in addition to DLJ. Dominic earned a JD from Fordham University School of Law and a BA from SUNY Binghamton.

Gavin Cicchinelli

Chief Operating Officer

Gavin joined PrimeRevenue as Chief Operating Officer in 2021. With more than two decades of leadership and executive experience along with a deep understanding of the payments space, Gavin provides a unique focus on improving and strengthening operational strategies and implementing GTM growth execution. He is responsible for leading transformation across corporate and operational strategies as well as building a repeatable and scalable commercial growth strategy that aligns with PrimeRevenue’s core business while delivering key adjacent growth opportunities.

Prior to joining PrimeRevenue, Gavin served as President and Chief Revenue Officer of Integrated Solutions at TSYS, a global payment processing services company acquired by Global Payments (NYSE:GPN). There, he also served as Head of Product and divisional COO. Throughout his career, Gavin has held multiple leadership positions including VP of Sales, SVP of Business Development, and President of Financial Institutions. Gavin graduated from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley.

David Quillian

Chief Legal Officer

David joined PrimeRevenue as General Counsel in 2007. He and his team have been instrumental in successfully creating the unique legal structures that support PrimeRevenue’s multi-funder model and global funding capabilities. David is also the lead named inventor on PrimeRevenue’s two patents for Electronic Time Drafts, which allow PrimeRevenue to manage supply chain finance programs using electronic negotiable instruments as opposed to accounts receivable. Prior to PrimeRevenue, David was General Counsel at Harbor Payments, which was acquired by American Express (AXP) in 2006, and Magnet Communications, which was acquired by Digital Insight (DGIN) in 2003. He holds degrees in Economics and History from Duke University, and Juris Doctor and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Georgia.

Nathan Feather


Nathan has successfully ushered PrimeRevenue from our very early days as a visionary startup, through the financial crisis to today’s position as a thriving mid-sized leader in the cloud-enabled supply chain finance marketplace since joining PrimeRevenue in January 2006. He was instrumental in recapitalizing the company with an $80M investment led by BBH Capital Partners in 2015. Prior to PrimeRevenue, he held various financial management roles with Ariba, Freemarkets and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Nathan holds a BS in Accounting from Pennsylvania State University.

PJ Bain


PJ has an impressive and accomplished track record as an enterprise software entrepreneur and executive. PJ has built a solid record of success with PrimeRevenue since being appointed Chief Executive Officer in July of 2009. The company has received numerous awards for growth, customer service, innovation, along with being recognized as a top employer.

PJ is a life-long software and technology entrepreneur having been involved in numerous firms in the roles of founder, executive, advisor and investor. Immediately prior to PrimeRevenue, PJ was the VP and General Manager of Exact Holding N.V. (NYSE/AMS: EXACT), a leading global provider of business software solutions. He was previously Founder and CEO of Inspired Solutions, an Atlanta-based, B2B software and services firm that grew to be the largest reseller of Exact Software in North America, later acquired by Exact. PJ holds a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.