Global banking solutions for ambitious biotech firm

Genus capitalised on Santander’s Latin American presence and local expertise to increase its footprint in the region and expand into new territories.

In brief

  • Company turnover: £345.3 million
  • Sector: Biotech – Animal breeding
  • Selling to more than 70 countries worldwide, Genus PLC is a global biotechnology company based in Basingstoke with subsidiaries in 30 countries across Europe, America and Asia-Pacific.
  • Having previously received Santander funding as part of a banking syndicate, Genus needed additional funding to secure its latest acquisitions in North America and Brazil, and further enable the company’s global growth plans.
  • In order to improve the visibility of the local banking operations, Santander provided cash-management services – including Day-to-Day Banking, International Payments and Receipts, and Deposit Accounts – across five Latin American countries, all controlled by a single point of contact in London.
  • Genus selected Santander from among several other financiers due to the bank’s considerable presence in Latin America, its straightforward approach and Genus’ previous working relationship with Santander.
  • Having secured their latest acquisitions, Genus is now in a strong position to pursue further organic growth in China.
Genus PLC

A rising global population combined with increasing wealth in emerging markets is pushing up demand for meat products, which is putting farmers under pressure to deliver greater volumes. With its focus on improving meat and milk production, FTSE 250-listed biotechnology company Genus applies science to animal husbandry, in order to produce herds with desirable genetic traits. 

Global presence

Genus is a global operation with customers in 70 countries and subsidiaries operating in 30 countries across Europe, America and Asia-Pacific. Acquisition has led to rapid growth, with the company enjoying a strong presence in North America, and becoming increasingly active in the Asian and Latin American markets.  

“We see huge opportunities for growth in markets such as China, which are not yet as developed and where farms want to achieve the same kind of productivity that they see in the US,” says Head of Treasury Denis Noonan.  

Key acquisition 

Santander has played a vital role in the Genus growth story. The relationship began in 2010 when Santander was invited to join a syndicate of four banks who provided £100 million in rolling finance, of which Santander contributed £26 million. As Genus identified further acquisition opportunities the requirement increased, and Santander’s stake in the facility grew to £32.7 million.

The extra funding enabled Genus to complete a key strategic acquisition in the shape of Canadian porcine genetics company Genetiporc, including its US, Mexican and Brazilian subsidiaries. “The rolling credit facility has given us the firepower we need as we expand,” says Denis.

Latin American leverage 

The deal not only added around £5.4 million in revenue and 300 customers, it also enhanced the company’s presence in Latin America. This meant that Genus needed to tighten its cash-management processes across Brazil, as well as in neighbouring Chile, Mexico, Argentina and Uruguay. The company invited Santander to tender for this service. 

“There can be a lot of bureaucracy in Latin American countries, and a lot of regulation,” says Denis. “So it is very important for us to be partnered with a bank that understands the regulatory framework in each of the jurisdictions.”

Regional presence 

With a network of over 6,000 branches across Latin America, Santander is ideally placed to help UK businesses looking to work in the region. The bank co-ordinated the Genus tender between its local and international units, with additional on-the-ground support from Antonio Martin Tejero, Relationship Director in the Large Corporates team. Genus was impressed with the bank’s regional credentials, and also with the deal structure and Antonio’s assurance that Santander could have their services up and running within a month. “In fact, once we got all the documentation we had all the accounts open within two weeks,” says Antonio. Santander provided Day-to-Day Banking, Deposit Accounts and International Payments and Receipts facilities across the five Latin American countries. 

These services meant Genus’ Latin American interests could all be controlled from the UK, with Antonio providing a single point of contact. This innovative management solution was vital for Genus. “They are a very efficient company and these facilities enable them to keep control of every detail,” says Antonio.

A bank of choice

Genus needed a bank with a global reach combined with an understanding of local markets. “That was one of the reasons we originally asked Santander to join the banking syndicate,” says Denis. “We were able to establish a strong relationship, which led them to provide us with banking services in Latin America.” 

Genus considers Santander its bank of choice in Latin America, and now that it has secured this prime strategic region, it can work towards further global expansion. “It’s a very important region for us,” says Denis. “Not just in terms of the local market, but also as a region that feeds global demand, particularly in emerging markets such as China.” 

From a strong regional presence to localised solutions, Genus and Santander are clearly reaping the benefits of a long-term banking relationship.

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