(Adds price set, Vardia deal)
By Freya Berry
LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - Dutch-domiciled insurer Brit Group is to price its London share offering at 240 pence per share, a source said on Thursday, valuing the company at 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.
Sources told Reuters earlier on Thursday that the price range had been narrowed to 235-240 pence a share, from an original range of 230-275 pence.
“The goal is to have a long-term quality shareholder book,” a source familiar with the matter said, 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 after the stake sale. Brit Group declined to comment.
Brit Group 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’s pricing comes on the same day as Norway’s Vardia Insurance closes books on a share sale. The book is fully covered within its indicative price range of 30-40 Norwegian crowns per share.
Vardia is planning to raise 175-225 million Norwegian crowns ($28.93-37.2 million) with an Oslo market debut set for April. ($1=0.6037 British Pounds) ($1=6.0480 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Freya Berry; Editing by Alex Smith and Jane Merriman)