Rags to riches for dotcom entrepreneur


Rags to riches for dotcom entrepreneur

Macquarie takes stake in foreign exchange site

By Madeleine Collins
Tue 19 Jun 2007

Banking giant backs business with humble beginning.

A dotcom venture that began life in a Sydney lounge room has hit the major league after Macquarie Bank bought a majority shareholding in the company.

Macquarie Financial Services Group has taken a 51 per cent stake in foreign exchange website OzForex.com.au for an undisclosed sum.

OzForex, which processed its first currency transfer six years ago, will become the recommended supplier of foreign exchange to the bank's 670,000 financial services customers.

This includes 383,000 cash management trust clients and those trading in international shares.

The deal is understood to be the largest for the group since its acquisition of Coin Software in 2005 and fills a gap in expertise within the business.

Macquarie directors Peter Coleman and Peter Maher will join the OzForex board while Macquarie division director Neil Helm will become the business's Sydney-based chief executive.

OzForex joint managing directors and shareholders Matthew Gilmour and Gary Lord will continue in their jobs and will hire more staff.

The site turned over $2 billion in foreign exchange trades last year and employs 40 staff in offices in Sydney and London, with another office about to open in Toronto.

The deal will boost the website's client base of 30,000, increase annual revenue by up to 50 per cent and double profitability, OzForex founder Gilmour said.

"We plan to have 100 per cent profit growth in 12 to 18 months," he said.

Gilmour, 39, started the website in 1998 out of his Sydney home as a site for web-users to track currency rates.

It is popular with self-managed super funds and has been buoyed by strong international equities and property markets.

Gilmour confirmed that the company had rejected numerous approaches by private equity and trading houses.

"This arrangement with Macquarie ticked all the boxes for us," he said.

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