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

Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:24am EDT

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(Corrects in graf 2 that planned capital raising is A$250 mln institutional share placement and A$30 mln share purchase plan, not A$280 mln institutional only).)

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$250 million in an underwritten institutional share placement to be followed by a A$30 million share purchase plan.

In September, subject to market conditions, the company plans to raise another A$250 million through a listed convertible notes issue.

Challenger expects its retail annuity book to grow at 12 percent to 14 percent in fiscal year 2015 compared with 2.5 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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