Fexco ramps up its presence in UK with CEC takeover
Irish financial services firm Fexco has acquired London's largest specialist retail foreign exchange company, Currency Exchange Corporation (CEC).
CEC's 36 London branches will become part of Fexco's retail foreign exchange operation, which trades as No.1 Currency in Ireland and the UK.
The Kerry-based group plans to open another 20 branches this year bringing the total number of outlets up to 110 by the end of 2016.
Fexco forex managing director Joe Redmond said the acquisition was another "significant milestone" in the company's UK expansion.
"CEC has developed a prominent position in the London market and a very strong reputation amongst customers based on value and service, two core values which are also very important to Fexco making this acquisition a natural fit for us," he said.
The UK foreign exchange market is the most attractive in the world with approximately £9bn worth of foreign currency changed by FX operators annually on behalf of customers, he said.
The CEC acquisition is Fexco's biggest ever corporate transaction in the UK.
The company says it is on course to serve 1.5 million customers while handling £1bn in foreign currency volumes.
CEC chairman Mike Cooke said Fexco will be an "excellent partner" and that the deal would allow the company to become a "major force in the UK market".
In 1999 CEC started off as a single location, before growing to a 36-branch network in 2016. The company offers money transfer services for both person to person and business to business.
Fexco acquired Edinburgh headquartered No.1 Currency in 2012 and has added 39 new locations in the UK since.
The Irish firm, which also sells currencies through most Irish Credit Unions, employs over 2,300 people across 29 countries.
In 2014 Fexco was paid €5m by the Prize Bond Company for administration of parts of the scheme.
Fexco entered into a joint venture with An Post to run the business on behalf of the National Treasury Management Agency.