New Finablr owners in merger talks with Bahrain’s BFC Group Holdings
By Leandra Monteiro
The Prism Group AG and Royal Strategic Partners Consortium is in advanced talks with BFC Group Holdings for a merger to create a financial services group in the Middle East with licences to operate in over 30 countries.
In December 2020, Prism Group AG and Abu Dhabi’s Royal Strategic Partners formed a Consortium. They agreed to buy the assets of Finablr Ltd, which has a presence in 170 countries and includes the UAE Exchange, Unimoni and Xpress Money brands. BFC Group’s products include BFC Forex and BFC Payments.
The merger is said to be in advanced stages and the transaction would potentially be finalised by the second quarter of 2021. If it goes through, the deal would create the largest remittance services and currency exchange group in the MENA region, making it the only operator with a direct presence in all six GCC countries.
The Consortium aims to be the advanced regional player within the payments and currency exchange space and this deal would ensure that happening. It would create a financial services group with huge growth potential in some of the fastest-growing markets in the world. It will invest in a digital transformation plan to make payments faster and easier and thus revolutionise the system.
Speaking about the potential merger Prism Group CEO Amir Nagammy said, “We are confident of the deal concluding and excited about taking a major step towards creating a market-leading, pan-global financial services company in the region. We are at the start of a new era in the financial services industry in the Middle East and the combined group will be well-placed to play a leading role in the transformation of the sector. We plan to leverage new technology to become the first truly omni-channel financial services company in the region, offering fast and efficient payment systems for over 24 million clients.”
Dr. Hamad Al-Ali, CEO of Royal Strategic Partners added, “This proposed merger illustrates the rapid progress the Consortium has made towards realising its goal of creating a regional fintech company that can compete on the global stage. We have a unique opportunity to build a financial services group of significant size and scale, which has the potential to transform the way transactions are conducted around the region and the wider world.”
BFC Chairman, Ziad El Chaar shared, “BFC has been operating in the region for over a century. During that time, it has established a hard-won reputation for integrity and innovation. The proposed merger represents a new chapter in the company’s history and would secure its future under new ownership.”
Ebrahim Nonoo, Managing Director and CEO of BFC said, “Our discussions with the Consortium are well-advanced and I am excited by the opportunities a merger would create. Our combined retail network will be the largest in the Gulf and the Consortium has the expertise, experience and vision needed to build a 21st century payments infrastructure that will benefit millions of customers.”
The deal will be subject to regulatory approval in India, Bahrain and Kuwait.
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