High-profile industrialist Sanjeev Gupta, who has a string of investments in Scotland, has completed the acquisition of a bank as part of a bid to help UK businesses trade internationally, particularly with emerging and Commonwealth markets.
Following regulatory approval, he has acquired Diamond Bank UK, formerly the British subsidiary of Diamond Bank Plc of Nigeria. It will be renamed the Commonwealth Trade Bank (CTB), and will “significantly” enhance the financial services offering within Gupta’s global GFG Alliance, comprising metals, industrials, energy, finance and property businesses.
GFG’s interests in Scotland include Liberty Steel Dalzell in Motherwell, where the group reopened the plant, and it bought the UK’s last remaining aluminium smelter in Fort William. It has also acquired hydro firm Green Highland Renewables and invested in Simec Atlantis Energy, which is behind the MeyGen tidal power project.
The CTB is seen as facilitating greater international trade with countries such as Australia and India, “giving customers the attention and support they need to unlock value within their businesses” as the UK continues to extricate itself from Europe.
The bank will offer trade services including receivables, inventory and supply chain finance.
It will also, as a regulated entity, be owned, governed and operated independently of Gupta’s other businesses – and is expected to complement the role of Wyelands Bank, which Gupta bought in 2016.
Gupta, founder and executive chairman of GFG, said: “The CTB will be a highly valuable partner for Britain’s dynamic and ambitious companies that are looking to export their goods and services to some of the highest-growth markets around the world like Australia and India.
“This is an exciting time for British businesses, with many new opportunities opening up in emerging and Commonwealth markets. By helping businesses to capitalise on these opportunities and expand their global footprint, I believe the [CTB] will play a significant role in expanding trade worldwide.
“Finance is the life blood of our economy and there is a clear gap in the market to provide accessible finance and bespoke solutions to facilitate greater trade flows… this bank will aim to become a leader among financial institutions globally that provide international trade finance.”
Bank chief executive, Peter Horton said: “We’re looking forward to a bright future.”