Aigis Banca liquidated because of links to Greensill
Aigis Banca, a Milan-based bank that specialised in SME loans, reportedly had investment product invoices linked to Greensill. These in turn were linked to Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, one of the central entities in the controversy.
As recently explored by FinTech Magazine, the primary events of Greensill’s demise took place over the course of a week:
- GFG defaulted on a US$140m loan provided by Greensill
- Credit Suisse, which managed Greensill’s securities, grew anxious about the connection to GFG and opted to sell $10bn worth of assets
- GAM then proceeded to freeze Greensill’s receivables funds
- Five days later, amid job losses and accusations of criminal negligence, Greensill finally goes into administration
Banca Ifis steps in to mitigate exposure
Banca Ifis, another Italian bank located in Venice, will be purchasing Aigis Banca’s assets for €1. Frederik Geertman, CEO of Banca Ifis, told the Financial Times that doing so would ultimately salvage Aigis’ reputation.
“The intervention [...] makes it possible to avoid the severe social and economic consequences of the situation that has arisen in Aigis Banca as a result of the latter’s exposure towards Greensill Bank.”
Indeed, Gupta was apparently considering purchasing a stake in Aigis Banca as recently as 2020. This decision appeared to stem from the intensifying regulatory pressure that his own bank, Wyelands, was experiencing at the time. Wyelands is now itself in severe financial trouble following revelations that 80% of its loans were overdue.
European Banking: An ambivalent future
The compromisation of Aigis Banca comes at a strange time in European banking: the Central Bank of Iceland has become the first to raise interest rates, a positive sign of economic recovery following the pandemic, while the UK’s banks have been criticised for large-scale investment in non-eco-friendly ventures.
Furthermore, with fintechs like Tink partnering with mainstream payment companies like AmEx to drive Open Banking, we could be on the cusp of a fundamental reinvention of the customer-bank relationship.
At the present moment, for better or for worse, Europe is demonstrating some of the most fascinating activity in the global sector. Now with over €49.3trn of total assets managed over the continent, how it continues to develop could have a profound effect on the global industry
Origami raises £20mn in Series C round led by Barclays PLC
The investment, which saw Barclays take the lead as part of the bank’s Sustainable Impact Capital initiative, is geared to back companies that specialise in sustainability and working towards zero carbon emissions.
Additional investors in the round were Origami’s existing shareholders, Octopus Ventures, Aggreko, and Cambridge Innovation Capital.
Origami green technology
The Cambridge-based technology company which was founded in 2013, is on a mission to build a green energy world powered by smart technology. It's green energy initiatives focus on transitions to renewables, energy systems, smart and real-time digital solutions.
Origami's trading and automation software currently provides power traders with real-time data and machine-learning decision support tools to reduce risk, improve visibility and capture valuable opportunities within new and rapidly evolving energy markets.
This new investment will enable the startup to improve its products, serve a growing customer base and scale up for international markets. The success of the funding round, said Origami executives, highlights the increasing investor appetite to back leading tech companies pursuing the reduction of global carbon emissions.
Green energy technology
Peter Bance, CEO, Origami, explained, “This investment recognises that with powerful real-time software solutions underpinning our emerging green energy systems, tackling the world's greatest threat of climate change can also become the world's greatest commercial opportunity.
“Barclays shares our vision and has a broad customer base in the UK and internationally, which includes many energy businesses. I am looking forward to working with them to help achieve our ambitious goals.”
As part of its broader commitments, Barclays has pledged to invest £175m of its own capital, led by the Principal Investments team, in fast-growing, environmentally-focused companies whose values are aligned with those of Barclays and which target the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement.
Speaking about the Origami investment drive, Steven Poulter, Head of Principal Structuring and Investments, Barclays, said, “It is becoming increasingly clear that powerful digital solutions, like Origami’s, are critical enablers for maximising the potential of green energy assets such as renewables, batteries, and EVs.”
He added, “Their technology is essential for a successful and timely transition to a low-carbon economy, and the opportunity for Barclays to partner with such a compelling business in the world-class Cambridge Greentech ecosystem is an exciting prospect.”
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