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Industrialist Sanjeev Gupta plans second bank to aid UK’s trade with Commonwealth markets

Sanjeev Gupta, the British Industrialist, is expanding his involvement in regulated financial services and banking by entering an agreement with Diamond Bank PLC of Nigeria to acquire its UK-regulated banking subsidiary, Diamond Bank (UK) PLC.

The entrepreneur, who leads the GFG Alliance group of companies, announced today (26th April) that a subsidiary of his family’s Wyelands Trust, has signed an agreement to acquire Diamond Bank UK, subject to approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). The Central Bank of Nigeria has already approved the transaction.

The proposed acquisition is 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

Mr Gupta’s strategy is to identify and capitalise upon investment opportunities and gaps in the banking and financial markets. 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.

Wyelands Bank, was established to address market gaps in funding for trade and working capital solutions to support UK industrial companies wanting to trade with developed economies worldwide. The new bank, which, upon change of control, is intended to be renamed British Commonwealth Trade Bank (BCTB) will complement this by addressing those same gaps for trade in developing economies, particularly within the Commonwealth. Like Wyelands Bank, BCTB will be separately capitalised and independently governed and managed.

 Separately, Wyelands Capital, also part of the GFG Alliance, recently entered the credit insurance sphere by acquiring Transworld Credit Corporation, now being renamed Centinel Insurance Corporation (CIC), as well as investing in a joint venture with international working capital solutions business, Demica. These businesses are both regulated by the FCA.

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.

“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.”

Uzoma Dozie, CEO of Diamond Bank PLC said: “We feel the proposed sale of our UK subsidiary, DBUK, to the GFG Alliance will provide our UK clients, employees and stakeholders with a new shareholder committed to developing its activities and business. Our particular attraction is the experience the GFG Alliance has in managing regulated businesses, as well as knowledge of Africa, which forms a key competency of DBUK.”

The transaction was 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.”