Steel tycoon to launch bank aimed at helping British industry trade globally after Brexit

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 30 Apr 2018

Scunthorpe steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta is to launch a bank to help British industry trade globally after Brexit, particularly with the Commonwealth.

The Indian-born entrepreneur, who last year bought the former Caparo Merchant Bar mill in Scunthorpe, has agreed to buy the UK division of Nigeria’s Diamond Bank.

If approved, it will be renamed British CommonwealthTrade Bank (BCTB)

Mr Gupta, who leads the GFG Alliance group of companies, announced that a subsidiary of his family’s Wyelands Trust had signed the agreement.

The proposed acquisition is said to be part of Mr Gupta’s strategy to expand further the financial services activities of the GFG Alliance, alongside its other business pillars of metals, industrials, power generation, infrastructure and property.

His decision to make a further investment in banking follows his initial successful period of ownership of Wyelands Bank PLC, which he acquired in 2016.

Read more: Scunthorpe mill owner launches €2billion investment programme in France

Mr Gupta said his strategy was to identify and capitalise upon investment opportunities and gaps in the banking and financial markets.

He said: "This is based on an analysis that significant gaps continue to exist in bank and non-bank funding availability for trade, commodity and supply-chain finance, globally."

Like Wyelands Bank, BCTB will be separately capitalised and independently governed and managed.

Mr Gupta said: "Finance is the life blood of our economy. Our first bank, Wyelands Bank, saw a gap in effective financial servicing for mid-sized UK industrial companies targeting developed countries worldwide and, after a successful first year, is now well on its way to becoming a leading institution in this market segment.

Sanjeev Gupta, pictured raising a flag above the Scunthorpe mill last year, watched by his parents PK and Reshma

"The acquisition of BCTB, with its particular global networks, breadth of experience and specialist expertise in developing economies, will enable us to focus on a very different market gap, providing tailor-made financial solutions that enable UK businesses to access specific fast-growing markets, especially within the Commonwealth.

"GFG companies have a long history in trade with the Commonwealth and we hope to use both what we've learned and our worldwide contacts to help design a British bank focused on helping UK companies to access exciting new opportunities.

"Britain is a nation of traders and with our government’s new focus on international trade, we hope to play a key role in connecting UK businesses to customers and opportunities across the world, especially in the developing Commonwealth markets, where Britain has a long and rich history.

"Post Brexit, there will be a heightened need to provide competitive financing to British companies in the commodities and industrial sectors as they seek to grow in new markets globally. BCTB will aim to be the ‘bridge’ between borrowers and lenders for trade with these markets."

Read more: New boss promises extra jobs and more production at Scunthorpe steel mill

The transaction has been welcomed by Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, who said: "GFG’s acquisition of Diamond Bank UK will go a long way in helping UK businesses access opportunities in some of the world’s largest and fastest-growing markets.

"This includes the Commonwealth - with a third of the world’s population - where the bank has a strong presence.

"As we leave the European Union, it is essential that we make the most of trade and investment to help secure UK jobs, growth and prosperity. This is why my international economic department is helping companies seize the global business opportunities ahead."



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