Directors set to share more than £100m from Esure listing

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The Independent Online

Insurance tycoon Peter Wood and his fellow directors at Esure are poised to make more than £100m as the starting gun on a £1bn flotation is fired this week.

Mr Wood, who founded the company in 2000, is expected to publish an "intention to float" notice over the next few days and sell at least 25 per cent of Esure's shares on the London Stock Exchange. The directors control around 50 per cent of the Sheila's Wheels owner, so could share around £125m if the business reaches its expected valuation.

Esure hopes to take advantage of a recovery, which has seen the FTSE 100 reach a five-year high and companies such as housebuilder Crest Nicholson and estate agent group Countrywide queue up to list.

Esure has been one of the industry's strongest performers in recent years despite the rise in personal injury claims and a Competition Commission probe into the motor insurance market. The company was partly-owned by Lloyds Banking Group until 2010 when Mr Wood led a management buyout.

Esure's stock market listing follows last year's flotation of Direct Line, which was also founded by Mr Wood. Once listed, its shares rose by about 20 per cent and it has attract interest from foreign investors.

It is believed that Travelers, the US insurer, is interested in an Esure stake ahead of the float. Mr Wood and Jay Fishman, Travelers' head, are said to know each other well from the former's time in the US.

On Thursday, Direct Line will publish its first full-year results since floating. It is expected to see pre-tax profit fall to £233m from £343m in 2011. However, it is likely to reward investors with a maiden dividend of 7.8p.