Funding Circle narrows pricing range for London listing - bookrunner

LONDON (Reuters) - British peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle IPO-FNIG.L on Wednesday tightened the price range for its initial public offering to 440-460 pence per share, from an initial guidance of between 420-530 pence, a bookrunner on the deal said.

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The listing in October is expected to value Funding Circle at around 1.5 billion pounds.

The first of Britain’s new breed of peer-to-peer financial technology firms to go public, the company backed by Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen and launched in 2010, hopes to raise around 300 million pounds from the listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Books are expected to close on Sept. 27.

Funding Circle has helped more than 50,000 businesses in Britain, the United States, Germany and the Netherlands to borrow more than 5 billion pounds since it started.

But some in the financial industry are concerned about whether peer-to-peer lenders challenging established banks will be able to weather an economic downturn and similar platforms in the United States have seen their shares tank after hitting problems.

Finance industry sources said they expected a string of listings in Europe, where proceeds from initial public offerings (IPO) of European firms rose 35 percent in the first half of the year to almost $30 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.

But while more IPOs are expected, a high proportion of listings being shelved has put bankers on edge.

Two HNA-backed Swiss companies - ground services and cargo handling unit Swissport Group and airline caterer Gategroup - have delayed flotation plans.

The London IPO of education company GEMS was shelved and its owners are now weighing a sale, sources have told Reuters.

Reporting by Clara Denina, editing by Sinead Cruise and Louise Heavens