Santander has bought a majority stake in Mercury TFS, a software company that specialises in automating trade finance transactions, as part of the bank’s wider strategy to grow through acquisitions.

The €30mn deal, which sees Santander become a 50.1% shareholder of Mercury TFS, will strengthen the bank’s “international trade offer and consolidate its position as the bank of choice for SMEs and corporates with international operations”, says a statement on behalf of both parties.

One third of the investment will be used to “to subscribe for new shares, which will inject funds into the company to enable new services and boost growth in customer numbers and markets”, it adds. It is not detailed how the rest of the money will be spent.

Mercury TFS’ CEO Juan Carlos Rivera and Ernesto Acosta Martín, the company’s head of technology, will continue in their roles, with the firm currently employing 130 people based in Spain, Mexico, Chile and Colombia.

Javier San Félix, head of Santander’s global payments services, will join Mercury TFS to chair its board, with the bank now holding four of seven board seats.

The trade finance solution will enable Santander’s customers to manage their trade finance activity online or via a mobile phone through a digital portal. Santander has already implemented Mercury TFS’ services in Spain, Mexico, Chile and Germany, with plans to roll them out in its UK and Portuguese arms at year-end through Santander’s global trade platform, Global Trade Services (GTS). GTS provides international payments, currency exchange, trade finance and multi-country accounts to SMEs and companies conducting international business.

“Mercury TFS has flexible, open and cloud-ready architecture that can be seamlessly integrated into open financial platforms and with modular design, such as GTS,” the statement continues.

This latest acquisition forms part of the bank’s wider strategy to grow through acquisitions, and follows Santander’s purchase of a majority share in alternative financier Ebury for £350mn.

In November, when the Ebury deal was struck, Paolo Giabardo, chief commercial officer at Ebury told GTR that the main reason for the acquisition was that the fintech had been “growing very strongly” for a number of years in Europe and was looking to expand into new markets in Asia and Latin America.

“We want to be a leading global platform for mid-market corporates to trade internationally, so in that respect this partnership makes a lot of sense,” he said, adding that: “When mid-market corporates in Asia, Europe and the Americas are thinking about who their trade services’ provider for international trade should be, they will immediately think of Ebury as a counterparty.”

Of the £350mn buyout, £70mn will be spent on supporting Ebury’s plans to enter new markets in Asia and Latin America. It has not been revealed how the rest of the money is being spent.

Santander is also leading the Trade Club Alliance, a digital platform made to matchmake cross-border trading partners. Jon Barañano Gaviña, chairman of the Trade Club Alliance, told GTR in October at the alliance’s official global launch, that the bank’s aim is to create a network for its customers looking to score sales overseas in regions lesser known to Santander such as Asia and Africa, doing so by accessing local data provided by the 14 partner banks.

Santander and Mercury TFS were unavailable to comment at the time of publishing.