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Saga set for £3bn stock market move

Saga, the over 50s insurance group, fired the starting gun on a stock market flotation today in the biggest public offer of shares since the Royal Mail.

The private equity owned company, which has more than two million customers, is expected to be valued at around £3 billion including debt in the listing.

Members of the public will be able to apply for a minimum of £1,000 of shares in the company, although customers and staff will be given priority and will also be entitled to one free share for every 20 they acquire.

Saga has already canvassed its customers and found that around 700,000 would be interested in buying shares in the company.

The move will be the biggest shares sell-off since the controversial sale of Royal Mail last October, when more than 700,000 people applied for shares in a flotation that initially valued the delivery firm at £3.3 billion.

The flotation will also represent a big pay day for an estimated 6,000 current and former employees of Saga and its sister business the AA. They own about 13% of the business, alongside private equity firms including Charterhouse.

Saga, which started as an out-of-season holiday provider in 1950, now offers services ranging from cruises and holidays, home and motor insurance, savings and share dealing through to the UK's best-selling Saga Magazine.

Executive chairman Andrew Goodsell said: " What began 60 years ago in a small hotel in Folkestone is today one of Britain's most trusted and respected companies. This is in huge part due to the hard work and dedication of our employees.

"Our customers are at the heart of our brand and I am delighted that they will have an opportunity to become shareholders in the company and to be part of the next stage of our journey."

Proceeds of around £550 million will be used to reduce debt to around £700 million, while existing shareholders will sell a proportion of their holdings.


From Belfast Telegraph