The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Smelter saviour in deal to launch post-Brexit bank

- BY KEITH FIND­LAY

Lochaber smelter saviour San­jeev Gupta is to launch a new bank aimed at help­ing UK in­dus­try trade glob­ally af­ter Brexit.

Mr Gupta’s GFG Al­liance has struck a deal to ac­quire the UK di­vi­sion of Nige­ria’s Di­a­mond Bank, which will be re­named Bri­tish Com­mon­wealth Trade Bank (BCTB).

The in­dus­tri­al­ist said his strategy was to “iden­tify and cap­i­talise” on in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and gaps in bank­ing and fi­nan­cial mar­kets.

He added: “Post-Brexit, there will be a height­ened need to pro­vide com­pet­i­tive fi­nanc­ing to Bri­tish com­pa­nies in the com­modi­ties and in­dus­trial sec­tors as they seek to grow in new mar­kets glob­ally.

“BCTB will aim to be the bridge be­tween bor­row­ers and lenders for trade with these mar­kets.”

Mr Gupta, who has over­seen a series of ac­qui­si­tions at GFG, added: “Bri­tain is a na­tion of traders and, with our gov­ern­ment’s new fo­cus on in­ter­na­tional trade, we hope to play a key role in con­nect­ing UK busi­nesses to cus­tomers and op­por­tu­ni­ties across the world, es­pe­cially in the de­vel­op­ing Com­mon­wealth mar­kets, where Bri­tain has a long and rich his­tory.”

The Di­a­mond Bank deal is sub­ject to ap­proval from the Fi­nan­cial Con­duct Authority and Pru­den­tial Reg­u­la­tion Authority.

GFG saved the UK’s last alu­minium smelter, near Fort William, from threat­ened clo­sure in 2016. The group is build­ing a car wheel fac­tory in a £120mil­lion ex­pan­sion at the site.

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