Finablr to spend $200 mln of IPO money on expansion - CEO

ABU DHABI, May 26 (Reuters) - Payments and foreign exchange company Finablr plans to use half of the proceeds from its share sale in London earlier this month to expand both organically and via acquisitions, its chief executive said on Sunday.

The United Arab Emirates-based company, whose brands include UAE Exchange, Travelex Holdings and Xpress Money, raised $400 million in an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange. Half of that amount was raised selling new shares.

“This money will strengthen our balance sheet and give us more fire power to execute our expansion strategy,” Promoth Manghat told Reuters.

Expansion plans also include acquisitions focused on intellectual property and technology and across payments and foreign exchange, he said.

The investment, over the next two to three years will be made in its existing businesses across the Middle East, Asia and Africa as well as in the payments business in Europe and the United States, Manghat said.

Finablr will continue to strengthen partnerships with payment technology companies such as Google India, China’s WeChat and others and expand in high growth markets in the Middle East, Asia and Africa that are on the cusp of digital transformation, he said. Finablr currently has 23 million retail consumers and 1,500 institutional partners in 170 countries. “In the next three to five years, Finablr will continue to transform, will have more scale in volumes it handles as well as in the number of partnerships,” he said. Finablr expects its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin to grow to 20% in the next three to five years from the current 14%, said Manghat, without giving details.

The company will be announcing its first results on the London Stock Exchange after June 30 this year.

Finablr’s IPO price was 175 pence per share, significantly below an initially anticipated 210-260 pence range, giving the company an implied market value of about 1.23 billion pounds ($1.59 billion)

Finablr attracted major, long-term investors such as BlackRock, Norges Bank and others. “For us it is a long-term value creation event, it’s not a price-take event, we always wanted to do an IPO,” he said. (Reporting By Stanley Carvalho. Editing by Jane Merriman)