By Sarah Townsend
Indian billionaire pushes back United Global’s London IPO to third quarter
The planned listing of United Global, the holding company of currency houses UAE Exchange and Travelex, has been confirmed for the third quarter of 2017, chairman and founder BR Shetty told Arabian Business.
The company intends to sell 30 percent of its shares in an initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
BR Shetty’s announcement comes despite reports in December 2015 that the merger and listing of UAE Exchange and Travelex would take place by the end of this year.
The Indian-born, UAE-based businessman, who is executive vice-chairman and CEO of Abu Dhabi based NMC Healthcare, said in an interview: “Now, my idea is to merge these two – UAE Exchange and Travelex together – then in the third quarter of next year I am planning to go for IPO, keeping these two brands alive in a new merged company called United Holding (UTX), which is what would go for IPO.”
He said the LSE has been selected for the listing due to the high quality of its investment regulations and solid market capitalisation. NMC Healthcare has been listed on the LSE since 2012.
He declined to reveal the value of the IPO, insisting that he was not allowed to publicise this information in advance of a formal statement to the stock exchange.
“I am giving people the opportunity to get involved with this [company], to have a sense of belonging,” he said.
UAE Exchange is a $30 billion turnover company as of today, with 800 direct branches across 31 countries and 9,000 staff, BR Shetty said.
UK-based Travelex, meanwhile, has 1,500 retail outlets in around 29 countries across the world, in addition to 2,500 ATM locations. It has “the monopoly in London airports”, the businessman said.
UAE Exchange acquired Travelex in January 2015 for a reported $1.14 billion. This April, shareholders closed an $890 million loan intended to support the two foreign exchange companies’ growth plans.
Reuters had earlier reported that the two companies would merge by early 2017 and list in Abu Dhabi soon afterwards.
Sudhir Shetty, president of UAE Exchange, told Arabian Business in a telephone interview that the merger would create “the world’s largest [currency exchange] retail network chain entity”.