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Travelex Appoints Restructuring Expert to Board

By Lisa Botter

Travelex Holding Ltd. said Monday, April 6, it had appointed David Frauman to the board, as it deals with a mounting accounting scandal at its parent company Finablr plc.

Travelex, the world’s largest retail currency dealer, said Monday that Frauman’s extensive involvement in debt restructuring situations and previous board experience will provide the company with “valuable governance support and expertise.”

Frauman was appointed to Steinhoff Europe AG’s management board in July 2018, according to data from relationship mapping service BoardEx, a sister company of The Deal. Frauman also sits on the board of Steinhoff Finance Holding GmbH.

Steinhoff itself was embroiled in an accounting scandal. The beleaguered South African retailer, whose brands include Conforama, Mattress Firm and Poundland, admitted to large scale accounting irregularities in December 2017. That sent its share price crashing and left it scrambling to repay €9 billion ($10.1 billion) of debts.

Frauman had also been a non-executive director as QMH UK Lfd. for more than six years.

Travelex, on March 27, said it was considering available candidates that could be appointed as independent non-executive directors after the resignations of a string of board members associated with its troubled indirect parent.

The resignations of BR Shetty, Binay Shetty, Abdulrahman Basaddiq and Promoth Manghat meant there was no longer any overlap between the boards of Finablr and Travelex.

Travelex’s financial health and reputation have been hit with a triple whammy in recent months. The coronavirus crisis shutdowns followed a cyber-attack in late December that led it to warn of a likely £25 million ($30.7 million) write-down on its first quarter earnings. Then came the announcement on March 17 that Finablr was considering bankruptcy and had appointed Duff & Phelps Corp. investigations division Kroll Inc. to carry out a comprehensive review of related-party transactions and on and off-balance sheet debt.

Travelex said at the end of March it had commenced discussions with its lenders and with the advisers to bondholders representing more than 60% of the outstanding face value of its senior secured notes. In parallel it is exploring various avenues to ensure continued access to funds.

The company said Monday that it is implementing a wide range of cost control measure and working with its professional advisers to access various government support measures. It also said it was in discussions with landlords, which are mainly airports, about rent relief.

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