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Promina to woo retail investors

Philip Macalister

Monday 31st March 2003

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Royal & SunAlliance in the United Kingdom is hoping the public float of its Australian and New Zealand businesses, under the Promina name, will raise up to $2.3 billion ($A2.1 billion).

Of that money raised all but $163.7 million (A$150 million) will go back to help bail out Promina's parent company in London.

At a press conference in Sydney today Promina chief executive Michael Wilkins said that retail investors will be offered an incentive to buy shares in the company.

The main carrot being offered is a A10c per share discount on the price paid compared to what institutions will pay.

He said the retail price per share is likely to be between A$1.40 and A$1.90 each, while the price range for institutions will be A$1.50 to A$2.00.

Promina is essentially a general insurance company and its financial services operations, such as life insurance and funds management, are relatively small in comparison.

Wilkins says the general insurance sector is experiencing a resurgence in profitability, partly because companies have been able to increase their prices.

He also says Promina starts off its life with a sound financial position. It will have no debt and its assets aren't tied up in shares like its parent company.

One of the reasons many UK-based life companies are struggling is because their assets are invested in shares and as the markets fall they breach solvency ratios set by the government.

Promina registered its prospectus today. The retail offer opens on April 14 and is due to run through to May 2. Final offer pricing will be made by May 12 and the company plans to list on the Australian and New Zealand Stock Exchanges on that day.

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