CORRECTED-Australia's Challenger FY14 net drops; plans $500 mln fund raising

Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:46pm EDT

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(Corrects retail annuity book growth for FY14 in third paragraph to 12.5 percent from 2.5)

SYDNEY Aug 20 (Reuters) - Challenger Ltd, Australia's largest annuities provider, said on Wednesday its annual net profit fell 18 percent to A$341 million($317 million) but said it was well positioned to tap the largely under-served post-retirement market.

It also said it would raise A$280 million from an institutional share placement and another A$250 million in September through a listed convertible notes issue to funds growth.

Challenger expects its retail annuity book to grow at 12 percent to 14 percent in fiscal year 2015 compared with 12.5 percent in fiscal year 2014.

Overall, annuities still have a much smaller market share in Australia. Only about A$2.2 billion of annuities were sold last year, but industry experts see that topping $3 billion in 2014. ($1 = 1.0754 Australian dollar) (Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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