Finablr stock dives on debt deal in fresh blow to billionaire owner

LONDON (Reuters) - Shares in payments company Finablr <FINF.L> plunged 27% on Friday after it disclosed its majority owner, UAE-based Indian billionaire B. R. Shetty, had pledged over half the company's stock as security against debts it incurred buying Travelex.

Another of Shetty's London-listed firms, United Arab Emirates' largest private healthcare provider NMC Health <NMC.L> has halved in value after being hit in December by U.S. short-selling firm Muddy Waters.

Shetty's Finablr bought British travel money firm Travelex in 2015, which this month suffered a cyber attack that forced its systems offline for weeks and caused chaos for holidaymakers.

"The outlook for Finablr is poor. The fact the founder used roughly half of the company's shares as collateral for a loan suggests the situation is serious," said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

"The Travelex crisis has clearly hit the founder hard and it suggests that he is scrambling around to get financing. Even if the funding issue is sorted out, Finablr's share price will probably struggle to recover – like NMC Health."

A spokeswoman for Finablr declined to comment on the share price movement. Shetty did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Travelex hack has left the majority of British high street banks, which use the company to provide travel money to customers, unable to take online orders.

Finablr floated on the London Stock Exchange in May last year and since then it has fallen nearly 40% in value.

(Reporting by Lawrence White and Iain Withers in London and Muvija M in Bengaluru; editing by Rachel Armstrong and Elaine Hardcastle)

01/24/2020 14:08

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