| LONDON, March 27
LONDON, March 27 Dutch-domiciled insurer Brit
Group is to price its London listing at 235-240
pence a share, two sources said on Thursday, valuing the company
at up to 960 million pounds ($1.6 billion).
The Lloyd's of London underwriter, which operates in the
commercial insurance field, is planning a 25 percent stake sale
of 100 million shares. The final price is to be announced on
Thursday after the markets close, but one of the sources said
that the order books were well-covered and a price at the upper
end of the new range was expected.
The price range has been narrowed from the original range of
230-275 pence a share.
"The goal is to have a long-term quality shareholder book,"
said a source familiar with the matter, adding that the books
for the listing were covered early.
Brit Group is owned by private equity funds Apollo
and CVC, which will both remain majority shareholders
following the stake sale. CVC declined to comment, while Apollo
were not immediately available for comment.
Brit Group's price announcement comes the same day as books
for Norway's Vardia Insurance are also set to
Vardia is planning to raise 175-225 million Norwegian crowns
($28.93-37.2 million) with an Oslo market debut set for April,
as it seeks out new purchases in order to strengthen its
position in the country.
Brit Group is eyeing expansion abroad rather than action
closer to home. The company said on March 4 that it was
intending to float as part of plans to expand in the United
States, Asia and Bermuda.
Brit Group was not immediately available to comment.
($1=0.6037 British Pounds)
($1=6.0480 Norwegian crowns)
(Reporting by Freya Berry; Editing by Greg Mahlich)