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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Billionaire B R Shetty prepares for money exchange IPO

Mr Shetty set up the financial services company Finablr last month to consolidate brands such as Xpress Money and UAE Exchange

B R Shetty's Finablr employs over 18,000 people and handles more than 150 million transactions. Ryan Carter / The National 
B R Shetty's Finablr employs over 18,000 people and handles more than 150 million transactions. Ryan Carter / The National 

Middle East billionaire Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty hired Evercore to advise on a potential initial public offering for his financial services company, according to sources, as he seeks to expand a sprawling empire built on offering money transfers and currency-exchange services.

Finablr, the holding company for businesses including Travelex Holdings and UAE Exchange, is weighing a share sale in London as early as next year that may value the business at billions of dollars, said the sources. More advisers could be hired in the next few months, they said. No final decisions have been taken and the plans could change.

The timing of an IPO is yet to be determined, according to Finablr executive director Promoth Manghat. The company is currently “focused on accelerating our transformation efforts”, he said. Representatives for Evercore could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Mr Shetty set up Finablr last month to consolidate his financial services brands, which include Xpress Money. The company employs over 18,000 people and handles more than 150 million transactions. Mr Shetty is also the founder of NMC Health, which trades in London and is part of the benchmark FTSE 100 Index.

Mr Shetty and entities linked to Saeed Bin Butti Al Qubaisi’s Abu Dhabi-based Centurion Investments in 2015 bought a majority stake in Travelex, which had revenue of £786 million ($1 billion) last year, from private equity company Apax Partners.

Finablr, based in the UK, has said it plans to support expansion efforts by its divisions, including $250m to $300m in acquisitions and strategic investments by the UAE Exchange unit. The financial group competes for a slice of the global remittances market, which is dominated by 266m migrant workers who sent a record $466bn to developing countries last year, according to World Bank data.

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