Small and medium-sized enterprises are a key driver of economic growth. Therefore, it is important to smooth the path for them: providing them with technologies that help them grow, create jobs and have everything they need to make their business competitive. At Santander, we want to be the bank of choice for SMEs, which is why we have taken a stake in Ebury, one of the major payments and forex platforms for SMEs.
A key element in the economic transformation of any country is the creation of a stronger private sector and greater entrepreneurial development. In these cases, small and medium-sized enterprises represent one of the main drivers of global economic development, not only because of their contributions to production and distribution of goods and services, but also because of their flexibility in adapting to technological change and their huge job-creation potential. SMEs provide up to 60% of total employment and 40% of GDP in emerging economies.
At Santander we want to contribute to this growth and become the bank of choice for SMEs which trade or plan to trade internationally. This has led us to invest EUR 400 million in acquiring 50.1% of Ebury, one of the major payments and forex platforms for SMEs which already operates in 19 countries and with 140 currencies.
Santander works with more than four million SMEs around the world, of which over 200,000 trade internationally. With this investment, we want to drive Ebury's growth through a capital increase, and benefit from the opportunities that will arise from the development of more SMEs around the world. In this way, we are supporting the growth plans of this British company, which is looking to enter new markets in Latin America and Asia. With this partnership, we expect to obtain a return on investment capital (ROIC) of over 25% by 2024.
In the words of our Group executive chairman, Ana Botín: “Santander is the best positioned bank to help SMEs in their international expansion and to provide them with global services for trade finance. The agreement with Ebury will allow us to deliver faster and more efficient products and services for SMEs, previously only accessible to larger corporates.”
The partnership with Ebury is the result of our commitment to the economic development of small and medium-sized enterprises. “Combining a big bank with an agile fintech means we can offer our clients the best of both worlds: they can benefit from our technology and service, while at the same time having the security and certainty of working with one of the world’s biggest financial institutions”, explain Ebury's co-founders, Juan Lobato and Salvador García.
At Santander we are offering an increasing number of services to SMEs to assist with their growth and internationalisation. In October, along with other international banks, we launched the Trade Club Alliance, a global network of banks aiming to make international trade simpler with an innovative digital platform which enables companies in Europe and Latin America to connect with each other. Santander wants to strengthen the existing links and revolutionise the way in which companies seek opportunities in new markets. By doing this, we firmly believe that we can play a vital strategic role in achieving the sustainable business growth of our customers abroad.