Foreign exchange provider Travelex has confirmed it is considering a stock market flotation in a move that could value the business at £1 billion.

Travelex, which is the largest non-bank foreign exchange business in the world with more than 1,500 stores and 1,250 ATMs in 27 countries, grew underlying profits by 21% to £80.1 million last year.

Group income was up 12% to £695 million following expansion in emerging markets and a boost from increased ownership of smartphone or tablet devices, which make it easier for customers to order cash while on the move.

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Travelex - majority owned by private equity firm Apax since 2005 - is one of a number of companies running the rule over an initial public offering (IPO).

Chief executive Peter Jackson said: "The secular growth in international travel continues to drive increasing demand for foreign exchange services and higher transaction values through our stores and online.

"With this positive backdrop and our strong financial performance, we are currently evaluating our strategic options which may include an IPO."

Travelex has for some time faced speculation that it is seeking to join the FTSE 250 Index in a move that it is thought could value it at around £1 billion. The business was founded in 1976 by its current chairman Lloyd Dorfman.

Mr Jackson, who took the helm four years ago, has reshaped the company by selling off a business-to-business foreign exchange platform in 2011 for £600 million and snapping up companies to bolster its consumer operations.

It bought a 49% stake in Brazil's largest independent retail foreign exchange market last year and it aims to buy the rest before November.

Alongside a potential listing of shares this summer, it has reportedly reached out to potential buyers to gauge their interest in a potential takeover.