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Telford-based ReAssure pulls plug on stock market float

By James Pugh | Telford | Business | Published:

A life insurance group with its headquarters in Telford has seen bosses pull the plug on a highly lucrative stock market listing due to lack of interest.

ReAssure's Windsor House headquarters in Telford

Swiss Re said it would scrap plans to start trading shares in ReAssure after it became apparent the valuation of up to £3.3 billion was too high.

Shares had been set at a range of 280p to 330p but Swiss Re's finance chief John Dacey said: "While we firmly believe that the long-term interests of ReAssure are best served by a more diversified shareholder base, there has been no pressing need for Swiss Re to divest shares at a price that we consider to be unrepresentative of ReAssure's value and future prospects."

The biggest sticking point appears to be caution from institutional investors, who have been burnt previously by new companies listing and subsequently watching shares plummet.

Swiss Re said: "This action is in response to the heightened caution and weaker underlying demand in the UK primary market from large institutional investors."

ReAssure employs 2,500 across five sites in the UK and is one of the largest employers in Telford.

It moved to the town to its purpose-built Windsor House in Telford Town Centre as Windsor Life Assurance in 1987.

The business had started in 1963 as The Occidental Life Insurance Company. In 2011 it was re-branded as ReAssure.

Swiss Re's ReAssure specialises in buying up life insurance policies that other insurers no longer want. It manages 3.3 million policies and £40 billion of assets.

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The plans would have seen Swiss Re sell down its 75 per cent stake in ReAssure to less than 25 per cent.

Mr Dacey added: "We retain our objective to reduce Swiss Re's ownership in order to de-consolidate ReAssure. In the meantime, Swiss Re remain fully committed and supportive of ReAssure and its management team, and will participate in future acquisitions in line with their respective shareholdings."

A spokeswoman added that there were no plans to restart the listing process, known as an Initial Public Offering (IPO), this year, but did not rule out one in the future.

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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