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17 March 2020
INVESTMENT

B.R Shetty’s Finablr casts doubt on future, CEO resigns

The London Stock Exchange-listed firm appointed an independent financial adviser to assess its liquidity position and weigh options earlier this week

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

by Kudakwashe Muzoriwa

Finablr, the owner of currency-exchange businesses such as UAE Exchange, Xpress Money, Travelex Holdings and Unimoni, said that its Board of Directors is unable to accurately assess the company’s financial position and there is a material uncertainty about its ability to continue as a going concern.

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

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.

In a bourse filing, Finablr stated that the constraints on the firm’s access to its daily liquidity needs have become amplified and have reached a point where they are having a material adverse impact on the company's operations.

Finablr also said that its board has been informed of the existence of $100 million in cheques that may have been used as security for financing arrangements for the benefit of third parties. The $100 million cheques were written by group companies and dates back to before Finablr’s listing in London.

The board is now immediately looking for a replacement for Promoth Manghat who has stepped down as Chief Executive Officer as well as from all other directorships and other offices of entities within the Finablr Group.

Finablr said that its board is considering urgent measures to restore confidence and stability across its stakeholders.

These include establishing a committee of its independent non-executive directors to carry out a comprehensive review of the company's liquidity and cashflow management functions, its financial and debt position, and its strategic options.

Additionally, the board appointed Kroll to carry out a more comprehensive review of related-party transactions and on and off-balance-sheet debt, including the issues identified above regarding the cheques and any other contingent liabilities.

Finablr said that its board is in the process of discussing with an independent financial advisor to conduct a review of the company’s debt and cashflow position and to support the management in addressing its short- and longer-term financing needs.

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.


RELATED STORIES: Promoth Manghat London Stock Exchange B.R Shetty UAE Exchange Travelex Holdings NMC Health Finablr

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