Hambros to float off insurance

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HAMBROS BANK will float off its insurance businesses this month, creating a separately listed company with a stock market value of more than pounds 80m.

Nicholas Page, managing director of Hambro Insurance Services, said the much-trailed move is in the tradition of the group's development of Hambro Life, the life insurance company (later renamed Allied Dunbar) on which it made more than pounds 200m.

HIS has four businesses: Cunningham Hart, a leading firm of loss adjusters; Hambro Legal Protection, which arranges legal expenses insurance; Beale Dobie, which makes a market in second- hand life insurance policies; and Berkeley Insurance, which helps clients to choose the most appropriate insurance broker.

Mr Page said the flotation of HIS would raise the profile of its businesses. It will also raise pounds 15m for HIS. Mr Page said he wants to create a fifth leg for the group, which would again be in insurance services. 'I have a personal ambition that (HIS) won't remain as a small company,' Mr Page said.

In all, the flotation will raise about pounds 35m. Some pounds 9m of this will go to Hambro Countrywide, the separately listed estate agency business that owns 51 per cent of Hambro Legal Protection. Hambros will receive about pounds 5m and another pounds 5m will be shared between about 35 senior managers of the insurance subsidiaries.

After flotation, Hambros will own just over 50 per cent of HIS. HIS and its stockbroker, Panmure Gordon, hope to place many of the remaining shares with the 100 institutions they are seeing over the next few days.

HIS is forecasting a pre-tax profit of at least pounds 9.4m in the year to the end of this month. It made pounds 8.1m in 1991/2, pounds 7.1m in 1990/1 and pounds 3.6m in 1989/90.

HIS will be chaired by Christopher Sporborg, who is joint deputy chairman of Hambros and chairman of Hambro Countrywide.