Troubled UAE-based remittance and foreign exchange firm Finablr Plc, owned by NRI businessman BR Shetty, has decided to sell its operations to Global Fintech Investments Holding AG (GFIH), an affiliate of Prism Group AG of Israel, for $1.
Finablr, having a direct presence in 45 nations through its licensed operations complemented by a network reach spanning 170 countries, commanded a market value of around $2 billion till last year. Prism has formed a consortium with Abu Dhabi’s Royal Strategic Partners (RSP) for the deal.
Shetty-promoted UAE Exchange and its parent firm Finablr — which is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) — controlled a sizeable remittance business involving non-resident Indians (NRIs). In March, the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) had slapped curbs and decided to “oversee the operations management” of UAE Exchange LLC, a remittance and wage protection firm in the Middle East promoted by Shetty. He had moved to Abu Dhabi from India in 1975 and once had a net worth of over $ 3.1 billion.
In April, Finablr found out about $1 billion of debt hidden from its board after a US investment firm alleged that NMC Health inflated cash balances and understated its debt. This scandal pushed Finablr’s sister firm NMC Health Plc — which was at one stage valued at $10 billion on the LSE and was a top healthcare provider in the UAE — into administration.
In an LSE filing, Finablr said, “In return for the transfer of Finablr to GFIH, in addition to the nominal initial consideration of US$ 1 payable, GFIH is providing working capital support to the company to enable it to continue to operate and support various stakeholders, including employees and creditors.”
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