Foreign currency specialist Travelex today became the latest High Street giant to reveal it is considering a stock market flotation.
The company, which provides cash and pre-paid cards to more than 37 million customers each year, ended months of speculation about its future plans by announcing it is looking at a £1 billion London listing.
Peter Jackson, chief executive, said: “The secular growth in international travel continues to drive increasing demand for foreign exchange services and higher transaction values through our stores and online. With this positive backdrop and our strong financial performance, we are currently evaluating our strategic options which may include an initial public offering.”
A float could net a huge payday for founder and chairman Lloyd Dorfman, who set up Travelex in 1976 with a single Bureau de Change in central London and has a stake that would be worth about £300 million if a £1 billion valuation is achieved. Private equity firm Apax Partners currently owns a majority stake in the business.
Under the stewardship of Jackson, who joined the group from Lloyds Banking Group in April 2010, it now has a network of 1,500 stores and over 1,250 ATMs in 27 countries. The firm has increased its presence in markets like South Africa and Brazil through acquisitions and has also sold-off non-core divisions including its Global Business Payments division to Western Union for £596 million, and last year it completed a £350 million bond offer.
Sources close to the company confirmed that Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have been appointed to explore the group’s options, which also include a sale - although a flotation remains the preferred option.
If Travelex does choose to go public, then it will become the latest in a long line of UK companies to join the London Stock Exchange with white goods retailer AO.com, pets seller Pets At Home and discount firm Poundland among those to have already listed or set to do so.
The statement came alongside Travelex’s full year results, which showed group income had risen 12 per cent to £695 million in 2013. It also gave an Ebitda — profit before all sorts of expenses come out — of £80.1 million, a rise of 21 per cent, but it did not release a formal profit figure.
Jackson said the group was also looking at expanding into more new markets such as Turkey having recently opened for business in Panama and Guam.
He added that an independent Scotland could also benefit the group: “If Scotland does decide to break away, then yes, we could stand to gain if it introduces a new currency.”