Banco Santander has today announced an investment in Ebury, the trade and foreign exchange facilitator for small and medium-sized companies, for £350 million.

The investment, which fits Santander’s digital strategy of accelerating growth through new ventures, will strengthen its Global Trade Services offer and further consolidate Santander’s position as the bank of choice for SMEs trading or aspiring to trade internationally in its markets across Europe and the Americas, and in Asia later on.

Ebury, which operates in 19 countries and 140 currencies, has generated consistent average annual revenue growth of 40% in the last three years.

UK-based Ebury operates on a worldwide distribution platform underpinned by a data driven business model and offers best-in-class customer experience and product capabilities.

The partnership will enable Ebury to improve its value proposition, supported by a leading financial institution. Santander serves more than four million SME clients worldwide, of which more than 200,000 do international business.

Under the terms of the transaction, Santander will acquire 50.1% of Ebury for £350m, of which £70m will be new primary equity to support Ebury’s plans to enter new markets in Latin America and Asia.

Ana Botín, Group Executive Chairman of Banco Santander, said: “Small and medium-sized businesses are a major engine of growth around the world, creating new jobs and contributing up to 60% of total employment and up to 40% of national GDP in emerging economies. 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.”