UAE-Israel consortium appoints Moelis & Company to advise on Finablr restructuring

The group has been funding urgent working capital needs to help the payments company operate and support its creditors and employees

2AA5PG0 The Finablr logo is seen on an LED screen in the background while a silhouetted person uses a smartphone (Editorial use only)

Finablr’s new owners – a consortium of Israel’s Prism Group and Abu Dhabi’s Royal Strategic Partners – appointed investment bank Moelis & Company to advise on the restructuring of the embattled payments company and its subsidiaries.

The consortium, which has been funding Finablr’s urgent working capital needs, said yesterday that it intends to restart operations and develop a business plan.

“Together with our partners, we have continued to make tremendous progress over the past months with the leading global advisers assisting us on this deal,” said Hamad Al-Ali, chief executive of RSP.

“Our engagement of Moelis as our financial adviser is yet another testament to our commitment to reviving the business swiftly while keeping in mind the best interests of its lenders, customers and employees.”

Global Fintech Investments Holding, an affiliate of the Prism Group, formed a consortium with RSP to complete the purchase of Finablr in October.

In December, a sale for a nominal $1 was announced, but the buyers will also pay 25 per cent of any funds recovered from "third parties in respect of possible historic wrongdoing" at the company, up to a maximum of $190 million.

The consortium and Finablr have since been working with regulators and stakeholders to conclude the formalities of the acquisition.

“We are committed to implementing a long-term group-wide transformation programme at Finablr so that it can better serve its customers, strengthen its balance sheet and play a leading role in driving economic growth in the UAE,” Amir Nagammy, co-founder of Prism, said.

Finablr, founded by businessman B R Shetty, owns a number of foreign exchange and digital payments companies including UAE Exchange, Xpress Money, Unimoni, Remit2India and Bayan Pay. It also previously owned the Travelex foreign exchange business, which was taken over by its lenders in a separate restructuring exercise in July.

We have continued to make tremendous progress over the past months with the leading global advisors assisting us on this deal

Finablr floated on the London Stock Exchange in May 2019 in a deal that valued the business at £1.23 billion ($1.68bn), but faced a number of challenges last year that began with a cyber attack on Travelex while troubles mounted within its holding company, BRS Investment Holdings.

The company also faced liquidity issues, which led the UAE Central Bank to step in and oversee operations at its UAE Exchange business in March. Finablr's shares were suspended from trading during the same month.

In May, Finablr reported that its debt was $1bn higher than the $334.1m previously reported in its accounts. It appointed law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom to "investigate historic potential malfeasance within the Finablr Group and any misappropriation of assets" in July.

Moelis & Company will advise GFIH on developing a capital structure proposal to be presented to Finablr’s creditors in the coming weeks.

The investment bank has advised international companies on corporate restructuring and transformation programmes in the UAE.

“I fully support the appointment of Moelis as we continue to work with our stakeholders to restore the financial stability of Finablr,” said Robert Miller, newly appointed chief executive of Finablr.

The appointment of Moelis & Company is a step towards the recapitalisation of Finablr, which will lead to the swift re-opening of UAE Exchange, the remittance house whose branches have largely been closed since March 2020, along with the group’s other services, the statement said.