NRI businessman BR Shetty, others to acquire foreign exchange firm Travelex from Apax

India-born entrepreneur Dr BR Shetty, along with equity partners of UAE-based investment firm Centurion Investments, has agreed to acquire foreign exchange firm Travelex Holdings Limited (Travelex) for an undisclosed amount, according to a press release.

The acquirers did not divulge details of the deal, but several media reports pegged the transaction at $1.7 billion.

The sellers include Apax Partners, Lloyd Dorfman (founder and chairman of Travelex) and other shareholders. Following completion of the transaction Dorfman will be founder and president of Travelex and remain a shareholder. Peter Jackson, chief executive officer of Travelex, together with the existing management team, will continue to lead the company.

"With an attractive growth strategy and an experienced management team, Travelex has demonstrated its ability to execute on strategy to innovate and deliver strong financial results. I am looking forward to working with Lloyd, Peter and the Travelex team,” Shetty said in the statement.

Shetty’s principal investment portfolio includes significant holdings in nmc Health plc, UAE Exchange and Neopharma, as well as investments in hospitality, food and beverage businesses. He is founder and CEO of nmc Health plc, the UAE’s largest private sector healthcare provider, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is part of the FTSE-250 index.

UAE Exchange is a leading global money transfer and foreign exchange provider headquartered in the UAE. UAE Exchange was founded in 1980 and has a fast-growing international presence which spans 32 countries with over 700 offices. Neopharma is the first company of its kind to engage in pharmaceutical manufacturing in Abu Dhabi.

The proposed acquisition will be effected through BRS Ventures & Holdings Limited, which is owned by Shetty and equity partners associated with Centurion, the statement said.

Centurion is an investment vehicle based in Abu Dhabi, owned and controlled by Saeed Bin Butti Al Qubaisi, with a range of business interests.

“This is a significant milestone for Travelex and for me personally. Since I founded Travelex 38 years ago we have grown from a single shop into an international brand recognised and respected around the globe. I am proud of what we have achieved and am excited about the future. I look forward to supporting Dr Shetty, Peter and the rest of the management team,” Dorfman stated.

Travelex is one of the world’s leading independent retail foreign exchange businesses. The company has a globally diversified geographic footprint, which includes almost 1,500 stores and over 1,300 ATMs in 27 countries.

Travelex will continue with its stated growth strategy of increasing depth by expanding distribution channels and product range, increasing breadth by entering more countries, developing the payments business and building on its scale advantages. Travelex will remain independent and be managed separately from UAE Exchange for the foreseeable future.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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