Indian expatriates queue up at UAE Exchange in Rolla Square
Mubadala acquires a 3.4 per cent stake in Finablr, the holding company of UAE Exchange Centre. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Abu Dhabi: A fund owned by Abu Dhabi's Mubadala has taken a 3.4 per cent stake in London-listed payments firm Finablr. It was on Monday (March 16) that Finablr went in for a temporary suspension of its stock trade and launched an internal investigation into the company's books.

It's CEO, Promoth Manghat, put in his papers, and the Finablr board is looking for a replacement. The Finablr stock had dropped 90 per cent before it was suspended on Monday.

The Mubadala move will come as a booster shoot for the beleaguered company, which had also revealed it found cheques being issued as security for financing arrangements to benefit third-parties. The stake was purchased by MIC Capital Partners, owned and managed by Mubadala Capital.

Finablr had expressed doubts about its ability to continue as a going concern. It has engaged an accounting firm to undertake rapid contingency planning for a potential insolvency.

“They have taken a stake, over the past several weeks, in Finablr, reaching a level of disclosure required by the regulators,” the spokesman said.

Financial muscle

Mubadala manages about $240 billion in assets. Finablr had made a disclosure to the London Stock Exchange on Monday that MIC Capital Partners had built up a stake of 3.4 per cent, but had not disclosed that the fund was linked to Mubadala.

Finablr was founded by Dr. B.R Shetty, who also established troubled UAE hospital operator NMC Health, which earlier this month asked for an informal debt standstill to stabilise its finances. Finablr’s troubles come after problems at its Travelex business, which was hit by a ransomware attack late last year.

The company is also facing disruption to its business from the coronavirus crisis. Finablr’s other company, UAE exchange, has suspended all new transactions at UAE branches.

The firm, which has over 150 branches in the UAE, engages in money transfers, foreign exchange and payments services. Finablr’s shares were temporarily suspended on Monday, following a steep slide in the company’s stock price due to uncertainty over founder BR Shetty’s financial holdings.