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18 March 2020
BUSINESS

B.R Shetty hires adviser to prepare for potential insolvency

Finablr’s stock has been battered because of its ties to troubled hospital operator NMC Health, which has the same founder, Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty

The Financial Conduct Authority agreed to temporarily suspend Finablr’s shares at the request of the company/Bloomberg

by Kudakwashe Muzoriwa

B.R Shetty’s Finablr, the owner of currency-exchange businesses such as UAE Exchange, Xpress Money, Travelex Holdings and Unimoni, said that it hired an adviser to prepare for potential insolvency proceedings.

In a bourse filing, the London Stock Exchange-listed firm stated that it is working with an unidentified accounting firm on ‘rapid contingency planning’ and is taking the action with a view to maximise value in the group.

Finablr’s move comes a day after the firm warned that the board could not accurately assess its financial situation and Promoth Manghat was stepping down as Chief Executive Officer. The company vowed to implement ‘a package of urgent measures’ to restore stability and had hired compliance consultancy Kroll to review its debt and related-party transactions.

The company found about $100 million in cheques dating from before Finablr’s May 2019 initial public offering that were used to benefit third parties.

Furthermore, the company’s troubles have followed problems at its Travelex business, which was hit by a ransomware attack late last year. The company is also facing disruption to its business from the coronavirus crisis.

The company has been hurt by a liquidity squeeze at both group and operational business level as well as the fallout from NMC Health, coronavirus-related travel restrictions and a downgrade of Travelex’s bonds.

The Financial Conduct Authority agreed to temporarily suspend Finablr’s shares at the request of the company.

Finablr’s UAE Exchange has also suspended all new transactions at its UAE branches. UAE Exchange stated that due to certain operational challenges, we have temporarily suspended acceptance of any new transactions at UAE Exchange branches and via our online channels.

The firm, which has over 150 branches in the UAE, engages in money transfers, foreign exchange and payment services.

The company was created in 2018 by B.R Shetty as a holding company to consolidate his finance brands including Travelex based in London – which Finablr acquired in 2014 for GBP 1 billion –and UAE Exchange.


RELATED STORIES: Travelex Holdings Xpress Money Travelex Finablr UAE Exchange NMC Health

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