Finablr expects London trading debut by mid-May

Company is in talks with banks in India, Pakistan and Europe to expand its blockchain payments service

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., June 20, 2018.  Interview with Dr B R Shetty, founder of BRS Ventures, including NMC Health and UAE Exchange together with Promoth Manghat, Executive Director, Finablr. -- image-- Dr. B.R. Shetty
SECTION:  Business
Reporter:Sarah Townsend

Finablr, the UAE holding company for brands including Travelex and UAE Exchange, confirmed plans to sell shares on the London Stock Exchange with a listing expected by next month.

The payments and foreign exchange services company will publish a prospectus on or around May 1, Finablr said in a statement to LSE on Tuesday, a week after it announced plans for an initial public offering. The final offer price will be decided after the book-building process.

"Depending on market conditions, we hope for the process conclusion and an admission by mid-May," Binay Shetty, executive director of Finablr, told The National.

The company expects to raise $200 million (Dh734m) from the sale of new shares, with some existing shares also being offered as part of the IPO, Finablr said. It intends to have a free float of at least 25 per cent of its issued share capital and expects to be eligible for inclusion in the FTSE UK indices.

"London is one of the deepest capital markets in the world and understands finance and technology businesses, so it makes sense to list Finablr there," he added.

Finablr will use the proceeds from the IPO to finance expansion and lower debt.

The company sees opportunities in high-growth markets in the Middle East, Asia and Africa as well as opportunities in payments services in the US, UK and Europe, said Promoth Manghat, Finablr's group chief executive.

The business can be scaled up to triple the size of its current volumes without investments but has potential to increase up to seven times through small investments, he said.

Finablr is in discussions with banks in India, Pakistan and Europe to expand its services offering cross-border remittances via blockchain, Mr Manghat said.

In February, the company said its brands UAE Exchange and Unimoni will partner with US start-up Ripple to offer cross-border remittances to Thailand via blockchain.

Mr Manghat declined to provide a range for the offer price or valuation of the business.

Dubai-based payments processing company Network International last week started trading its shares on the LSE. Mr Manghat declined to comment on competition with its rival in London.

"We see the IPO as start of a new journey will lots of new and attractive opportunities," Mr Manghat said of Finablr's listing in May.

JP Morgan, Barclays and Goldman Sachs are global co-ordinators for the IPO. Bookrunners include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, EFG Hermes and Numis. Evercore is acting as the financial adviser.

Finablr, founded by Indian-born billionaire BR Shetty, handled more than 150 million transactions or $114.5 billion in volumes as of December 2018, according to the company. Last year it served more than 23 million retail customers and 500 corporate clients across 170 countries.

Mr BR Shetty and family own 91 per cent of Finablr, according to Mr Binay Shetty.

Mr BR Shetty is also the founder of NMC Health, which raised about £117 million (Dh562m) in an IPO in 2012 on the LSE, where it now trades and is part of the benchmark FTSE 100 Index.