Sunday 10 May 2020 2:05 pm

Colombian billionaire Jaime Gilinski beefs up Metro Bank stake

Colombian tycoon Jaime Gilinski has tightened his grip on Metro Bank after ramping up his stake in the troubled lender.

Gilinski, formerly the largest investor in TSB’s Spanish owner Sabadell, has increased his holding to nine per cent, the Sunday Times reported.

Read more: Metro Bank shares fall despite rise in customer deposits

In December the mogul, who holds his stake through British Virgin Islands-based Spaldy Investments, became Metro Bank’s largest shareholder in December after upping his interest to 6.1 per cent.

The move usurped US hedge fund boss Steve Cohen, who has slimmed down his holding to just three per cent.

Gilinski’s increased interest will add to speculation that the tycoon, who also owns Miami-headquartered JGB Bank, is mulling a takeover bid.

Metro Bank is still reeling from an accounting error in January last year that all but wiped out its market value, with shares plunging from highs of £40 in 2018 to just 80p.

The error led to the departure of founder and chairman Vernon Hill, as well as chief executive Craig Donaldson.

Read more: Metro Bank to return £11.4m to customers after breaching unarranged overdraft charge rules

The challenger bank swung to a loss of £131m in 2019 in the wake of the scandal, compared to a £40m profit the previous year.

Earlier this month shares continued their slide after Metro Bank said its net lending had fallen by £169m, though the bank did report a rise in customer deposits.