GFG Alliance, owned by Britain’s wealthy Gupta family, is expanding further into the financial services space with the acquisition of Diamond Bank UK. If approved by the regulators, the bank will be renamed the British Commonwealth Trade Bank (BCTB) and focus on supporting trade in developing economies, particularly within the Commonwealth.
Sanjeev Gupta, who leads the GFG Alliance group of companies, has announced that a subsidiary of his family’s Wyelands Trust has entered an agreement with Diamond Bank of Nigeria to acquire its UK-regulated banking subsidiary.
The agreement has already been approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria and is now subject to approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK.
It follows the group’s acquisition of Tungsten Bank in 2016, which re-launched as Wyelands Bank last year, and the subsequent creation of Wyelands Capital. Since then, the group has made a number of big moves to bolster itself as a financial services provider, including acquiring insurance broker Trans-World Credit Corporation and partnering with Demica, a provider of working capital solutions.
The proposed acquisition thus forms part of Gupta’s strategy to expand further the financial services activities of GFG Alliance, which also includes metals and industrial business Liberty House and sister energy and resources company SIMEC.
In a statement, the group says the decision to acquire Diamond Bank UK “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”.
While Wyelands Bank was established to provide trade and working capital solutions for UK industrial companies wanting to trade with developed economies worldwide, BCTB will be focusing on UK firms wanting to access developing economies.
“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,” Gupta says, adding that he sees a particular need after Brexit to help British companies in the commodities and industrial sectors grow in new markets globally.
Like Wyelands Bank, BCTB will be separately capitalised and independently governed and managed.