Colombian billionaire ups his stake in Metro Bank

By John Reynolds on Monday 11 May 2020

Alternative Lending

Jaime Gilinski has increased his stake from six per cent to nine per cent, which is likely to fuel speculation of a takeover bid.

 Colombian billionaire ups his stake in Metro Bank
Image source: Image of bank/Metro Bank

A Colombian billionaire and investor has upped his stake in embattled lender Metro Bank.

Jaime Gilinski, one of Colombia's richest men, has increased his stake from six per cent to nine per cent, according to The Sunday Times.

The increase in his stake in Metro took place at the end of last year, and is likely to fuel fresh speculation that the investor is gearing up for a takeover bid.

Gilinski first emerged as an investor in Metro in November last year, taking a 6.1 per cent stake which meant he was the bank's biggest shareholder.

Gilinski was once the biggest investor in TSB's Spanish owner Banco de Sabadell and he owns Miami-based JGB Bank.

The billionaire owns his stake in Metro through the British Virgin Islands fund, Spaldy Investments.

Metro is recovering from an accounting error in January last year, which saw it lose more than 90 per cent of its value, after it discovered it had erroneously classified £900m worth of loans as being less risky than they were.

The mistake led to the exit of founder and Chairman Vernon Hill, along with CEO Craig Donaldson.

The bank fell into a £131m loss in 2019 following the scandal, compared to a £40m profit the year before.

Metro’s shares, which were trading at more than £40 in 2018, were down 1.4 per cent to 79p today.

Metro declined to comment.

Sign up for our newsletters

Your daily 7am download of all things alternative finance and fintech.

Fintech and alternative finance headlines with an exclusive Editor's Note each week. Delivered Monday at midday.

AltFi's new weekly US newsletter breaking down the ins and outs of America's burgeoning fintech sector. Delivered Monday 9am EST/ 6am PST.