May 10, 2019 / 1:19 PM / in a year

Leading investor in Britain's Metro Bank cuts stake by nearly a third

FILE PHOTO: A logo is seen on the outside of a branch of Metro Bank in central London July 28, 2010. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. investment firm Fidelity Management & Research, one of the biggest investors in Britain’s Metro Bank, has cut its stake in the lender by almost a third.

FMR cut its holding in the firm from 7.55% to 5.37%, a Metro Bank regulatory filing showed on Friday. FMR is the second-biggest investor in the bank, Refinitiv data showed.

The move comes at a tough time for Metro Bank as it tries to win investor backing for a 350 million pound ($456 million)fundraising after an accounting mistake in January that has wiped more than 1.5 billion pounds off its market value.

John Cronin, an analyst at Goodbody, said FMR’s stake sale could help explain a 8.3% fall in the bank’s share price on Thursday. He said some shareholders might have been unnerved by such a large institutional investor reducing its holding.

“They have been in that ownership band for a while so it’s a very strong statement from FMR,” he said.

FMR and Metro Bank declined to comment.

Reporting by Iain Withers; Editing by Simon Jessop and Edmund Blair

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