Lutine has three days to the bell: Lloyd's fund need dollars 200m of backing

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The Independent Online
LUTINE Capital Corporation, the last of the big fund-raising ventures for the Lloyd's insurance market, will have to abandon plans for a US listing unless it can find at least dollars 200m ( pounds 137m) of backing within the next three days.

David Reid Scott of Phoenix Securities, the corporate finance firm sponsoring Lutine, said: 'We are running out of time. We are very, very close to crunch time.'

If it fails, it will be the latest in a series of Lloyd's trusts that have not met their targets, or been pulled early. Last week the difficulties of raising money from US investors was underlined by Salomon Brothers, the investment bank, when it abandoned plans for a dollars 300m company to back underwriting at Lloyd's in 1994.

Mr Reid Scott said Wednesday was 'the absolute latest cut-off date' because of the need to give firm commitments to the agents that managed the underwriting syndicates. Anton Members Agency, Lutine's Lloyd's adviser, has arranged about pounds 235m of capacity.

Mr Reid Scott said insurance was the sector hardest hit by last month's fall in the US market, which came just as Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette Securities and Morgan Stanley were starting to market Lutine to potential investors. Lutine was looking for up to dollars 312.5m but it needs at least dollars 200m to proceed with its listing on Nasdaq.

'We have a very healthy book by standards in the UK, but we are not where we would like to be,' Mr Reid Scott said. 'We are all still working at it, we're certainly not dead. But I can't say we are bouncing up and down.'

Phoenix and its partners may try to raise an unquoted fund if the public offer fails. Lutine was to buy Anton for pounds 4.86m, but that will fall through if it is unable to raise enough money to float on Nasdaq.

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