Santander bank has acquired a 50.1 per cent stake in global transaction banking platform Ebury for £350 million.

Santander said the acquisition of Ebury, a trade and foreign exchange facilitator for SMEs, will strengthen its global trade services offer.

London-headquartered Ebury operates in 19 countries and 140 currencies and has grown revenue consistently at 40 per cent in the last three years.

Santander has more than four million global SME customers, with 200,000 of them engaging in international business.

Of the £350m, £70m will be new primary equity to support Ebury’s plans to enter new markets in Latin America and Asia.

“Small and medium-sized businesses are a major engine of growth around the world, creating new jobs and contributing up to 60 per cent of total employment and up to 40 per cent of national GDP in emerging economies,” said Banco Santander group executive chairman Ana Botin.

“SMEs are becoming increasingly global and Santander is the best positioned bank to play a leading role to help them access global trade finance.

“By partnering with Ebury, Santander will deliver faster and more efficient products and services for SMEs, previously only accessible to larger corporates.”

Juan Lobato and Salvador García, co-founders of Ebury, added: “Combining a big bank with nimble fintech means we can offer our clients the best of both worlds: they can benefit from our technology and high-quality service safe in the knowledge that they are counterparty to one of the world most important financial institutions.

“It is an exciting time for Ebury, we have just completed our first acquisition, and the new capital from Santander and our existing shareholders will allow us to invest in new ways to serve SMEs trading internationally and continue the growth in our business while keeping our entrepreneurial culture.”