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A&L shareholders get 533.7p at auction

The 640,000 shareholders who voted to sell their Alliance & Leicester shares by auction without waiting for the start of trading this week will each receive 533.7p a share free of dealing costs, a windfall of pounds 1,334.25 each for their holdings of 250 free shares, writes Clifford German.

The cheques will be sent out for settlement next Monday. The exact price they will receive was decided yesterday after averaging the prices received at the three auctions arranged by brokers Cazenove.

The third auction of 52.3 million shares on Tuesday night raised an average price of 528p a share, compared with 522p last Friday and 552p on Monday. There were 71 successful bids at the final auction, the lowest at 525p and the highest at 550p. The smallest bid was 10,000 shares at 540p and eight bidders at 528p obtained 22.9 million shares between them.

In the market the shares closed 12p higher on the day at 545p, but still 21p below the closing price on Monday, the first day of trading, when the shares touched a peak of 576p. In addition to the 52.3 million shares from the auction, only 4 million shares changed hands yesterday.

The A&L windfalls have raised hopes of even bigger bonanzas when Halifax and Norwich Union float this summer. Almost 8 million Halifax members now expect windfalls averaging pounds 1,700 each and 2.9 million Norwich Union members are in line for pounds 1,400.