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TransferWise CEO preps for Malaysia launch, no IPO plans for now

The TransferWise application seen displayed on an Android smartphone, 11 January, 2019. (Photo illustration by Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

By Yoolim Lee

(Bloomberg) -- TransferWise Ltd., which recently raised funds at a $3.5 billion valuation, is launching an international payments service in Malaysia soon as part of an ongoing Asian expansion, Chief Executive Officer Kristo Kaarmann said.

That financing means the European financial technology startup, which has been profitable for three years, is in no hurry to go public, Kaarmann said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Rishaad Salamat and David Ingles. “As it stands, we have no immediate plans to list on a public exchange,” he said at Singapore’s annual Fintech Festival.

TransferWise was started in 2011 when Estonian-born co-founders Taavet Hinrikus and Kaarmann grew frustrated with the high fees charged by banks on money sent from London back to their homeland. The firm is starting an international payments service in Malaysia as part of its expansion beyond existing markets in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The company also delivers money to 17 countries in Asia.

Kaarmann said London-based TransferWise recently opened an office in Brussels that can become its European headquarters if Brexit goes through. “We’re completely prepared for any outcome Brexit will bring,” he added.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.