UK

Metro Bank shareholders approve rescue deal in crunch vote

Metro Bank’s shareholders have approved a funding package worth £925 million (Laura Lean/PA)
Metro Bank’s shareholders have approved a funding package worth £925 million (Laura Lean/PA) Metro Bank’s shareholders have approved a funding package worth £925 million (Laura Lean/PA)

Metro Bank’s shareholders have approved a funding package worth £925 million in a bid to secure its future on Britain’s high streets.

The proposals were passed with more than 90% of shareholders voting in support at a meeting on Monday.

The bank said it “proves there is a place” for its community banking model, as it proceeds with plans to open new branches in the coming years.

Shareholders gave the green light to a capital fundraise which will see Colombian billionaire Jaime Gilinski Bacal become a majority shareholder in the group with a 53% stake.

His firm, Spaldy Investments, previously owned about 9% of the bank. But it is taking another big chunk of the shares by agreeing to contribute £102 million in the fundraise.

Metro Bank will receive £150 million from investors from the equity raise, and a further £175 million in loans from investors who hold its bonds.

It is also refinancing £600 million in debt as part of the deal.

The funding package “remains subject to the receipt of the subscription funds from the investors”, the bank said after the shareholder vote.

A spokeswoman for Metro Bank said: “Today we received support from our shareholders, who voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new capital package for the bank.

“This is testament to their belief and confidence in the future of Metro Bank and proves there is a place in retail and business banking for our model of stores in major towns and cities, combined with online and mobile banking and great customer service.

“We remain committed to being the number one community bank and will expand our estate of 76 stores, with new stores planned in the north of England over the next two years.”

Mr Gilinski Bacal is estimated to be worth about 5.3 billion US dollars (£4.2 billion), and is primarily based in London.

He has long-term investments in the banking sector including in Latin America, Spain and the UK, and is known for his strategy of buying into struggling lenders and turning them around.

After the funding package was announced last month, the businessman said the opportunity to become a majority shareholder was driven by a “belief in the need for physical and digital banking underpinned by a focus on exceptional customer service”.

Metro Bank
Metro Bank Metro Bank said support from shareholders ‘proves there is a place’ for its community banking model (John Stillwell/PA)

Meanwhile, Metro Bank is reportedly in talks with Barclays to sell its residential mortgage book, worth £3 billion.

According to Sky News, it has entered talks with Barclays to offload its portfolio as part of the strategy to strengthen its capital position.

Metro Bank declined to comment on the reports.

Shares in the lender plunged to new lows last month after it first said it was considering a fundraise or selling off assets to shore up more money.

It came as the group was due to refinance about £350 million of debt by October 2025.

Earlier this year it celebrated completing a turnaround plan at the end of 2022 after cutting costs and winning new customers.

It is one of the UK’s top 10 banks with about 2.7 million customers, after being the first new lender to launch high street branches in 2010 in more than 100 years.

Its share price jumped by more than 6% following the announcement.