Banco Santander is continuing to invest in its global trade platform for corporates with the acquisition of a majority stake in Mercury TFS, a company specialising in software solutions that automate the end-to-end management of trade finance transactions for corporate customers. The transaction, which forms part of Santander’s digital strategy to accelerate growth by buying up corporate stakes, is designed to strengthen its international trade offer and consolidate its position as the bank of choice for SMEs and corporates with international operations.
The company, Mercury Trade Finance Solutions (Mercury TFS), is based in Spain and is a pioneer in trade finance digitalisation software. Their software enables Santander customers to manage their entire trade finance activity online or via mobile phone, enhancing the user experience, reducing response times and improving service quality. Mercury TFS will also enable the bank to digitalise internal process management, allowing greater control and operational efficiency. The company has 130 employees in Spain, Mexico, Chile and Colombia.
Santander is acquiring 50.1% of the Mercury TFS through a €30m investment. One third of the 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, and will continue to be partners.
“The investment accelerates our plans to build a service platform for SMEs and international companies to better serve our customers worldwide,” said Javier San Félix, head of Santander’s Global Payments Services. “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.”
San Félix is joining the company to chair its board with Santander holding four of the seven board seats. Santander has used Mercury TFS’s services in Spain, Mexico, Chile and Germany for years. The bank’s businesses in the UK and Portugal will begin using it at year-end through Global Trade Services (GTS), Santander’s global trade platform. GTS provides offering international payments, currency exchange, trade finance and multicountry 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.
In November, Santander also bought a 50.1% stake in Ebury, an international trade and FX platform for SMEs. By combining the bank’s assets, Ebury (international payments) and Mercury TFS (trade finance), in addition to services focusing on cash management and facilitation of international trade (Trade Club Alliance), among others, Santander intends to achieve a leading position in international trade for SMEs in Europe and America. In the medium term, Global Trade Services is expected to expand into 20 markets.
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