Banco Santander has paid €30 million to acquire a major stake in Spanish fintech Mercury Trade Finance Solutions as it continues to boost its digital banking services for SMEs and corporates.
The 50.1 per cent stake in Spanish-based Mercury TFS, which develops trade finance software to automate transactions for business customers, builds on Santander’s digital strategy to accelerate growth by buying up corporate stakes.
Mercury’s software will enable Santander customers to manage their entire trade finance activity online or via mobile phone with the aim of reducing response times and improving service quality.
Mercury currently employs 130 people in Spain, Mexico, Chile and Colombia.
One third of Santander’s investment will be earmarked to subscribe for new shares, which will inject funds into the company to enable new services and boost growth in customer numbers and markets.
Mercury TFS’ chief executive officer and head of technology will continue to head up the company.
While Santander has used Mercury TFS’s services in Spain, Mexico, Chile and Germany for years, the bank’s UK and Portugal businesses will use the platform for the first time at year-end through Global Trade Services (GTS), Santander’s global trade platform.
GTS offers international payments, currency exchange, trade finance and multi country accounts to SMEs and companies conducting international business.
“The investment accelerates our plans to build a service platform for SMEs and international companies to better serve our customers worldwide,” Javier San Félix, head of Santander’s Global Payments Services, said.
“We are also helping to globalise Mercury TFS, a software company with huge potential and a team with enormous talent, by reinforcing their technical and commercial teams and complementing their already broad product range.”
Today’s news is part of a wider acquisitive trend. In November, Santander also bought a controlling 50.1 per cent stake in Ebury – one of Europe’s fastest growing fintechs which provides corporate banking and international payments services for SMEs.
At the end of 2019, Banco Santander had €1.05 trillion in total funds, 145 million customers, of which 37 million are digital, and 200,000 employees. It also serves more than four million SME clients globally.