A leading foreign exchange entrepreneur who invested £4,000 in his business almost two decades ago, has sold his company in a lucrative deal worth more than £200 million.
Mayank Patel, who featured in this year’s Asian Rich List at number 73, sealed the deal with Palamon Capital Partners, a pan-European growth investor, and Corsair Capital, a leading private equity investor in global financial services, who jointly acquired Currencies Direct.
The business is a leading specialist provider of foreign exchange. It provides international payment solutions to private and corporate clients, and was established by Patel at the age of 29 in a tiny 10ft by 10ft office.
The Currencies Direct management will increase its ownership position in the company and will also include continuing equity participation by Patel, who will become honorary president.
Patel was awarded an OBE for services to the financial sector and entrepreneurship in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours. He said: “I am proud of what Currencies Direct has achieved over the last 20 years.
“I am confident that given the strength of the management team and the value added expertise of Corsair Capital and Palamon Capital, the business will continue to take advantage of the growth prospects in the sector.
“I am delighted I will be part of Currencies Direct future as a shareholder and honorary president.”
The father of two, who is worth £80m, grew up in Zambia. He quit the security of his highly paid job on a City derivatives desk to start his own business, which now offers currency services to more than 150,000 registered retail clients.
Currencies Direct operates in the UK, across Europe, in Australia, South Africa and the US, and is poised for further international expansion.
Daan Knottenbelt, partner of Palamon Capital Partners, said: “With its established market position, attractive margins, and exciting growth potential, Currencies Direct is a signature Palamon investment and in line with our core thematics.
“We look forward to partnering with the management team to provide strategic and financial support to take Currencies Direct to the next level.
“It’s proven business model, powered by its proprietary affiliate network, positions the company ideally to capitalise further on its strong momentum in this fast-growing, dynamic sector.”
Patel joins a group of Asian entrepreneurs who have built their businesses from scratch and sold them on at a profit.
Earlier this year, Amit Patel, who incorporated his pharma company Auden Mckenzie in 2001 with a £100,000 seed capital from his pharmacist father, sold Auden Mckenzie to Dublin-based Actavis, for £306m.
Other successful Asian businessmen include brothers Vijay and Bhikhu Patel, who sold their pharma company Amdipharm for £367m in 2012.
Earlier this year, Patel told the Asian Rich List, which is published by the Asian Media and Marketing Group, that he created a company that was the first of its kind in the UK and eventually turned it into an industry, leading the way as key players.
“Two years into the business, we turned the corner and started seeing more word of mouth business. While the world said ‘you are mad for leaving your job, you’ve got a great career,’ I was just determi-ned to succeed. I had the mindset of a millionaire from day one and you end up becoming your dream.
“I’ve always been very competitive. I’m now known as an industry grandfather,” Patel said.