US-based Ebix acquires India’s Essel Forex, Weizmann Forex

Visual from Ebix website

Continuing its acquisition spree to expand its financial services offering, US-based technology firm Ebix, Inc has acquired Essel Forex Ltd and Weizmann Forex Ltd.

According to an official statement, EbixCash World Money, the Indian arm of Ebix, has entered into an agreement to acquire 100 per cent of India-based Essel Forex for around $8 million. Ebix will be funding the entire transaction in cash using its internal cash reserves, it added.

EbixCash has also entered into an agreement to acquire a 74.84 per cent controlling stake in Weizmann Forex at an enterprise valuation of $65.94 million.

Upon completion of the acquisitions, Essel and Weizmann Forex will be integrated into the EbixCash World Money business in India. The retained executives of the acquired companies will move to the combined EbixCash remittance and forex leadership team headed by EbixCash World Money managing director TC Guruprasad.

“Essel Forex has a rich focus on the corporate clientele with strong partnerships with many leading banks. Their geographical, product and client overlap with EbixCash made the synergies rather compelling,” said Ebix chairman, president and CEO Robin Raina.

“Weizmann has one of the largest financial exchange footprints in India, especially with a large number of banks servicing their transactions through their network. We are excited to bring this vast network into the EbixCash Financial exchange network,” he added.

Ebix provides on-demand software and e-commerce services to insurance, financial, e-governance and healthcare industries globally. Its subsidiary EbixCash claims to have domestic remittance volume of approximately $100 million per month, with a presence in prepaid cards, domestic remittances and bill payments, processing approximately 600,000 transactions per day and $2 billion in annual payment volume.

The acquisitions are targeted at positioning EbixCash as the largest financial exchange in the country.

“With the two acquisitions, Ebixcash as a group stands as the largest distribution house in terms of network in financial services space covering more than 3700 cities and more than 6000 districts,” the company said. “It will also be the largest retail brand in terms of airport presence and will cover 95% of airports in India in terms of retail presence.”

It claims that the combined entity will have more than 80 per cent share in the cash to cash inward money transfer business in India, will hold half of the total share in the student outward remittance and forex category, and will be the largest non-banking player in the prepaid forex card segment.

The total volume on the prepaid forex cards for Ebixcash World Money Limited will be close to $1 billion, it said.

Early last year, financial services provider Centrum Group agreed to sell its entire stake in its money exchange business, Centrum Direct, to Ebix for around Rs 1,200 crore ($185 million). Prior to that, Ebix had acquired the Money Transfer Service Scheme (MTSS) business of India’s Transcorp International Ltd for about $7.4 million through one of its Indian subsidiaries.

In 2017, Ebix had acquired at least five businesses in India, including online travel and e-commerce exchange Via.com for about $75 million. It also acquired an 80 per cent stake in payments solutions exchange ItzCash, and bought the remittance businesses of YouFirst Money Express Pvt. Ltd, Wall Street Finance Ltd, and Paul Merchants Ltd.

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