Australasian float rescues RSA

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The Independent Online

Royal & Sun Alliance, the cash-strapped insurer, is gearing up for a successful float of its Australasian business on Monday that will plug its capital shortfall and ensure the survival of the company.

Royal & Sun Alliance, the cash-strapped insurer, is gearing up for a successful float of its Australasian business on Monday that will plug its capital shortfall and ensure the survival of the company.

The opportunity to book shares ahead of the listing of Promina, the newly named company, for institutional investors ends today, and the company will reveal over the weekend the price at which its shares will make their trading debut.

"This is a tantalising time for the float," Roman Cizdyn, an analyst at Commerzbank, said yesterday. "Institutional investors always leave it until the last moment – they do not want to buy in at too high a price, but they don't want to miss out either. The money raised from the float will eliminate RSA's capital problems."

Private investors had their chance to book shares last week. "There has been a good level of interest from retail investors and institutions have also shown strong interest, particularly from overseas," a company spokesman said yesterday.

RSA plans to raise between £553m and £744m from the float and the funds are central to plugging its £650m black hole. The insurer has been forced to offload chunks of its business after heavy losses on the World Trade Centre attacks, flooding and asbestosis claims.

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