By Geoff Percival
Kerry-based financial services and money transfer group Fexco is eyeing more acquisitions to boost its retail foreign exchange outlet business.
The Killorglin company operates more than 100 high street foreign exchange shops in the UK and Ireland and a further 950 through the franchise model. It has made two UK acquisitions this year in the form of Change-Link and the Thomas Exchange Group. The former was Britain’s first ever non-bank foreign exchange provider when it was established in 1972.
Online and digital foreign exchange transactions remain the bigger part of Fexco’s overall operations, but it is keen to grow its retail and high street presence.
“We continue to look for opportunities to expand this side of the business, both organically and through acquisition,” said the company.
Fexco yesterday reported an 80% increase in annual pre-tax profits for 2017 to €19.3m. Operating profit rose by 139% to €13.7m and income was up by 8% to €211.8m. The company — which employs more than 2,300 staff in 29 countries and generates 30% of its revenues from outside of Europe — closed last year with net assets worth €349m and cash balances of €182m.
“We have improved the group’s performance through both organic growth and targeted acquisitions,” said chief executive Denis McCarthy.
“In 2017 we continued to diversify into new product areas and to invest in the innovation that has proven key to our evolution into a global fintech business. Our broad portfolio of businesses is underpinned by a strong and conservatively managed balance sheet, which leaves us well-placed to pursue further growth opportunities,” he said.
Fexco doesn’t split out the performance of Goodbody, but said the stockbroking firm, in which it had owned a 51% stake, “played a role contributing to our profit growth”.
The estimated €150m takeover of Goodbody by a consortium of Chinese strategic investors was confirmed in early August and is still awaiting regulatory approval. The sale of the State’s second largest stockbroking firm is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the sale of Goodbody’s share in the Irish Stock Exchange in March, which realised a once-off €23.5m profit for Fexco, will be reflected in next year’s accounts.