April 23, 2018 / 8:15 AM / a year ago

Owner of Travelex, UAE Exchange prepares for potential London IPO

DUBAI, April 23 (Reuters) - Currency and money transfer firms Travelex and UAE Exchange are to come together under one holding company in preparation for a possible stock market listing in London, executives said on Monday.

The holding company Finablr will be incorporated in Britain, subject to regulatory approval, and will become the umbrella for United Arab Emirates-based business tycoon Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty’s financial service brands.

Shetty, UAE Exchange’s biggest shareholder, bought UK-based Travelex in January 2015 for 800 million pounds ($1.1 billion).

“We continue to focus on working on the IPO (initial public offering) and will come back when the time is right,” Binay Shetty, executive director at Finablr, told Reuters in an interview.

“Finablr is positioning the company’s strategy, both internally and externally, to combine the digital investment plan we have with the bricks and mortar business we have.”

Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty is also the founder of London-listed healthcare company NMC Health, which was included in the FTSE 100 index last year. Like NMC Health, Finablr will have its headquarters in the UAE.

“We have the prequalification for London [for Finablr]. In case we IPO, we prefer to list in London,” he said. He declined to say when the share sale might happen or whether banks had been hired for the process.

UAE Exchange is aiming to increase its share of the $575 billion global remittance industry to more than 10 percent by 2020, its chief executive Promoth Manghat told Reuters last year.

Manghat said on Monday that target was on track and the company had used about 40 percent of the $250-300 million it had earmarked for acquisitions and investments.

“Finablr will accelerate that agenda of acquisitions,” said Manghat, who is also executive director at Finablr, adding that this month it had made an investment in a United States-based digital money transfer business, which he declined to name.

As part of Finablr’s launch, the non-UAE operations of UAE Exchange will be rebranded as Unimoni. ($1 = 0.7145 pounds) (Reporting By Tom Arnold. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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