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Thu 5 Mar 2020 06:21 PM

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BR Shetty's Finablr said to weigh options after NMC Health pain

Sources say Finablr is considering options including bringing in new investors after its stock was battered because of ties to troubled hospital operator

BR Shetty's Finablr said to weigh options after NMC Health pain

Finablr founder Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty.

Finablr, the owner of currency-exchange businesses including Travelex Holdings, is considering strategic options including bringing in new investors after its stock was battered because of its ties to troubled hospital operator NMC Health, people familiar with the matter said.

The board of Finablr plans to meet in the next few days to discuss alternatives for the London-listed company, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Another possibility that could be considered is whether to pursue a take-private transaction, the people said.

Finablr founder Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty and other executives are seeking to restore confidence after the company’s shares plunged almost 80 percent this year. It now has a market value of about £284 million ($367 million), down from a peak of about £1.5 billion in December.

Deliberations are at an early stage, and there’s no certainty they will lead to a transaction, the people said. Representatives for Finablr and Shetty’s holding company, BRS Ventures, declined to comment.

Shares of Finablr fell as much as 31 percent on Thursday. The stock has been hurt by its connections to Abu Dhabi-based NMC, which was also founded by Shetty and has been subject to allegations of accounting and governance shortcomings from short seller Muddy Waters.

BRS Ventures is working with Houlihan Lokey Inc. to explore strategic options for the holding company, including a potential debt restructuring or the sale of some assets, people familiar with the matter said last month. It owns stakes in about 30 companies including NMC and Finablr, whose brands include UAE Exchange, Xpress Money and Remit2India.

Shetty pledged big chunks of shares outstanding in both Finablr and NMC as collateral for loans that he and his associates have taken out. In both cases, the companies said they aren’t sure who owns how many shares, and have asked Shetty for answers.

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