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UPDATE 1-Life insurer Phoenix says on track to meet financial targets
May 1, 2014 / 8:07 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Life insurer Phoenix says on track to meet financial targets

(Adds details, analyst comment, share price)

By Richa Naidu

May 1 (Reuters) - Debt-laden life insurer Phoenix Group Holdings said it was on track to meet the full-year financial targets set by its board to ensure that the company can pay its creditors and investors.

The FTSE 250 company said it expected its operating companies would generate between 500 million and 550 million pounds ($844.3 million-$928.7 million) of cash in 2014.

The insurer’s London-listed stock rose as much as 5 percent on Thursday morning.

Phoenix makes money by buying European life funds that are closed to new customers and running them more efficiently. Meeting its cash targets means Phoenix has the means to purchase new funds.

Heavy debt forced Phoenix into a financial restructuring and a two-year hiatus from the buyout market until early 2013, when it renegotiated the repayment of its 2.3 billion pound debt.

Phoenix repaid about a third of its debt during the negotiations and rescheduled the payment of the remaining 1.5 billion pounds to 2019.

The insurer said cash generated in the first quarter ended March 31 fell about 43 percent to 235 million pounds.

“It doesn’t matter. They could make this up in the second, third or fourth quarter,” said JPMorgan Cazenove analyst Ashik Musaddi.

“Ultimately what matters is their target. Because they have already delivered 235 (million pounds), it looks like their target is secured.”

Musaddi forecast that Phoenix would beat its own expectations and generate 560 million pounds of cash for the full year.

Shares in Phoenix were up 2.1 percent at 698.2 pence at 0803 GMT. ($1 = 0.5922 British pounds) (Editing by Supriya Kurane and Robin Paxton)

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