Dr. B. R. Shetty (“Dr Shetty”), a well-known entrepreneur and philanthropist, together with equity partners associated with Centurion Investments (“Centurion”), one of the leading investment firms in the UAE, are pleased to announce that they have entered into an agreement to acquire Travelex Holdings Limited (“Travelex” or the “Company”), the world’s leading foreign exchange specialist, from funds advised by Apax Partners, Lloyd Dorfman (Founder and Chairman of Travelex) and other shareholders. Following completion of the transaction Lloyd 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.
Dr 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 the Founder and Chief Executive Officer 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 today spans 32 countries with over 700 offices. Neopharma is the first company of its kind to engage in pharmaceutical manufacturing in Abu Dhabi, with state-of-the-art facilities. Centurion is an investment vehicle based in Abu Dhabi, owned and controlled by His Excellency Saeed Bin Butti Al Qubaisi, with a range of business interests.
Travelex is the world’s leading independent retail foreign exchange business. Over the past 38 years, it has built the world’s largest retail network of specialist foreign exchange stores and has developed Travelex as a trusted and widely recognised brand in foreign exchange. It has operations across the breadth of the foreign exchange value chain and a strong culture of compliance and risk management, underpinning its relationships with regulators and wholesale and retail partners. It has a globally diversified geographic footprint, which includes almost 1,500 stores and over 1,300 ATMs in 27 countries.
Following the acquisition, Travelex will continue with its stated growth strategy of: increasing depth through expansion of distribution channels and product range; increasing breadth through new country entry; 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. Commenting on the acquisition, Dr Shetty, said: “I am delighted to be acquiring Travelex, a trusted and recognised global brand inspired by Lloyd Dorfman’s vision. With an attractive growth strategy and an experienced management team Travelex has demonstrated its ability to execute on strategy, to innovate and to deliver strong financial results. I am looking forward to working with Lloyd, Peter and the Travelex team. This is a landmark transaction for Abu Dhabi.”
Peter Jackson, Chief Executive of Travelex said: “The sale of Travelex to Dr Shetty is an exciting new chapter for our business and represents a great opportunity for us to continue our expansion. Dr Shetty has developed a great business in UAE Exchange, with an impressive and successful payments and remittances offering which is highly complementary to Travelex. While we will continue to operate Travelex independently, the opportunity for both businesses to work closely together is compelling.”
“Over the last four years, we have developed Travelex significantly, entering a number of new and faster growing territories, expanding our offering in our existing countries, rolling out our digital platform and launching innovative products for customers.”
Lloyd Dorfman, Founder and Chairman of Travelex, said: “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 immensely 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.”
The proposed acquisition will be effected through BRS Ventures & Holdings Limited, a company owned by Dr Shetty and equity partners associated with Centurion. The acquisition is subject to customary regulatory and other approvals and consents. The acquisition will not result in additional debt being incurred by Travelex in connection with the financing of the acquisition and, other than in respect of the reorganisation of existing shareholder interests as a consequence of the transaction, it is intended to maintain the existing capital structure of Travelex.
The commercial terms of the proposed transaction are confidential.
Smith Square Partners acted as financial adviser to Travelex alongside Goldman Sachs and J. P. Morgan Cazenove.