Admiral says IPO on course

Admiral Group, the UK motor insurance group partly owned by Barclays Private Equity, is reported to be on course for a London Stock Exchange listing next month.

According to a report in the Financial Times, UK motor insurance company Admiral Group is on course for an IPO on the London Stock Exchange in September 2004.

Henry Engelhardt, the chief executive of Admiral who set up the firm 11 years ago, was quoted as saying that although market conditions were not perfect, he was still confident that the flotation would proceed and give Admiral a valuation of up to £680 million (€1 billion; $1.2 billion).  

The report said that Admiral was likely to float around one-third of its shares in order to raise approximately £225 million. Admiral did not confirm this figure.

The IPO would deliver a second partial exit for Barclays Private Equity (BPE), which sold some of its stake when Lloyds TSB and Bank of Scotland provided an £80 million refinancing package for Admiral in October 2002. Following that deal, BPE retained a 33 percent interest, and is likely to retain an undisclosed holding following the IPO.

It is understood that Munich Re, which has a 14.5 percent stake in Admiral and underwrites 65 percent of its business, intends not to sell any of its stake. 

BPE originally backed Admiral in a £110 million management buyout in 1999. Since it was founded in 1992, the firm has achieved steady growth and now employs around 1,500 people. In its latest set of results, it announced a rise in interim profits of 30 percent to £45.3 million.