Duffield aiming for £400m New Star float

New Star Asset Management, the fund management group headed by John Duffield, has upped its internal forecasts for the value of the business as it prepares for a flotation in the autumn.

The company and its advisers, HSBC Securities, believe profits for the coming year will support a price tag of £400m, up from the £250-£300m that was being predicted late last year when speculation over a possible flotation plan first began to swirl.

A £400m valuation would see Mr Duffield's stake worth £80m and make multi-millionaires of several other New Star employees. The high-profile fund managers, which have been attracted to the group, include Patrick Evershed and Tim Steer, and New Star is now believed to have more than £7bn of assets under management thanks to a string of acquisitions.

HSBC is said to be ready to go public with the listing plans immediately after half-year results are calculated in July and it is confident of a warm response from the City.

Fund management shares have performed well since the bottom of the bear market last year and there are signs from the savings industry that confidence among individual savers is returning.

A stock market flotation is most likely in September. No one from New Star or HSBC would comment yesterday.

Observers said it was unlikely that New Star would raise much, if any, new capital at the time of its float. Having raised around £100m in equity finance since its inception.

Mr Duffield set up New Star in 2001 after leaving Jupiter, the fund management group he had founded and sold to Commerzbank, making £175m.

He fell out with Jupiter's new owners soon after the sale. New Star shareholders include Sir Stanley Kalms, the former chairman of Dixons, and the Bamford family, which owns the JCB company.

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