Lloyd Dorfman was 24 when he started his money-changing empire with a small shop in London’s Russell Square. The former merchant banker became the first independent UK operator to win a licence to deal at airports. Today Travelex’s foreign-exchange operation has 650 outlets worldwide. Since its acquisition of Thomas Cook Global and Financial Services in March 2001, it has become the world’s largest issuer of travellers’ cheques after American Express. But its most important revenue stream comes from making payments in different currencies for medium-sized companies. The London firm moved into corporate work when its core business was threatened by the introduction of the euro. Travelex also provides outsourced travel money services for other companies, such as high-street banks, building societies and travel agencies. This diversification has driven up sales to £398m in 2001, when Travelex had 5,304 staff. Turnover represents commissions and fees earned from the supply of travel money, corporate payment services and travel insurance business.

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Company details
ActivityForeign exchange operator
LocationCentral London
Sales £m398
Profit £m35
Year endDec 01
Principal shareholdersLloyd Dorfmann (62%), 3i (33%), Clive Kahn (3%)

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* Supplied by company † Annualised figure