Travelex’s Private-Equity Owner Apax Considers London IPO

Travelex Holdings Ltd., owned by private-equity firm Apax Partners LLP since 2005, is considering an initial public offering in London.

An IPO is among “strategic options” being reviewed by the world’s largest foreign-exchange retailer, Travelex said in a statement today. Apax, one of Europe’s largest buyout firms, bought a majority stake that valued the London-based company at 1.1 billion pounds ($1.8 billion). Chairman and founder Lloyd Dorfman retained a stake of about 30 percent at the time of the sale, and 3i Group Plc had 7 percent, which it has since sold.

“The business is in a good place today,” Travelex Chief Executive Officer Peter Jackson said in a telephone interview. “I can’t deny that I haven’t noticed that a lot of businesses are listing at the moment. An IPO is our favored option.”

IPOs in London, including those of Russian retailer Lenta Ltd. and the fund Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate Plc raised $3.7 billion this year, about five times the amount sold in the same period in 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Jackson, who joined Travelex from Lloyds Banking Group Plc in 2010, has sold assets including a card program management unit to MasterCard Inc. in 2011 and a business-payments unit to Western Union Co. to focus on the consumer division. He also bought stakes in FX Africa and Grupo Confidence in Brazil to capitalize on demand in emerging markets.

“We are seeing a boom in some of those middle classes including China and they want to travel,” Jackson said. “We are looking to continue to invest in the markets that we already operate in. There are also clearly opportunities to grow” elsewhere, including Scandinavia and Turkey.

He said no decision has been made on the timing for a possible IPO. Travelex today reported 21 percent increase in full-year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to 80.1 million pounds.

A spokeswoman for Apax declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.

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