Dr B.R.Shetty takes over Travelex for £1billion

Dr Shetty, a self-made man who rose to prominence, started his career in Abu Dhabi as a pharmacist and later he ventured into healthcare and remittance business.

By Haseeb Haider - Principal Correspondent, Abu Dhabi

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Published: Fri 30 Jan 2015, 11:02 PM

Last updated: Fri 26 Jun 2015, 12:13 AM

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi-based business tycoon, Dr B.R.Shetty, who is the fifth richest Indian in the Gulf, has taken over the majority shares in London-based foreign exchange giant Travelex in a deal valuing over a billion pound sterling.

“I am here in London to sign the final papers,” Dr B. R. Shetty told Khaleej Times on Thursday.

It took Dr Shetty more than seven months to finalise the modalities of the deal.

Asked about a talk in the business circles on a possible merger between the UAE Exchange, which he founded in 1980, with his new acquisition Travelex, he said that both the firms would continue their business in their separate domains under a new holding company, which will go for an initial public offering in the third quarter of 2016.

Dr Shetty, a self-made man who rose to prominence, started his career in Abu Dhabi as a pharmacist and later he ventured into healthcare and remittance business. 

In 2014, he sold majority shares in the UAE Exchange to another Abu Dhabi-based business group, Centurion Investments, with which there is a plan to merge Travelex Holdings Ltd.

Dr B.R. Shetty is currently talking to banks to appoint an adviser for the transaction, says Bloomberg newswire. The company will be listed on Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, said Dr Shetty.

Apax Partners, one of Europe’s largest private-equity firms, agreed in May last year to sell its majority stake in Travelex to Centurion and Dr B. R. Shetty.

Apax, which had been poised to take Travelex public, bought control of the chain in 2005 in a deal that valued the company at about £1.1 billion.

Travelex, which has more than 1,500 outlets and more than 1,300 cash machines in 27 countries, sold assets including a card-programme management unit to MasterCard Inc in 2011 and a business-payments unit to Western Union Co to focus on its consumer business.

The currency-exchange and money-transfer company now has 750 offices in 32 countries.

UAE Exchange has more than 9,000 employees in around 40 countries, and remits $36 billion to India each year. It also operates a brand called Xpress Money, which has 100,000 locations in 136 countries.

The exchange has over six million customers in 30 countries.

Dr Shetty owns healthcare company NMC Health, which is listed on London Stock Exchange, apart from a pharmaceutical company in Abu Dhabi and other businesses.

— haseeb@khaleejtimes.com



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