Eureko to seek listing in Amsterdam and London

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The Independent Online

Eureko, the pan-European group of mutual insurers which failed in its bid for Guardian Royal Exchange last year, is to seek a public listing in London and Amsterdam in two years time.

Eureko, the pan-European group of mutual insurers which failed in its bid for Guardian Royal Exchange last year, is to seek a public listing in London and Amsterdam in two years time.

The group, whose partners include Friends Provident in the UK, said that two of its partners, Achmea of Holland and Banco Comercial Portugues, of Portugal, will merge their insurance operations with Eureko's existing business to create a new insurance giant.

The aim is to float the new company, which ranks 15th in the league table of European insurers on the Amsterdam and London stock exchanges, within two years. Analysts expect a price tag of around £6bn.

Joal Talone, chief executive, said the decision about which exchanges the company will be listed on will depend on progress towards consolidation within the European exchanges. "We could have just two exchanges by then - Euronext and the London Frankfurt exchange."

Mr Talone said that it was possible that more of Eureko's members will join before the initial public offering. The Eureko umbrella will include, in addition to the Dutch and Portuguese businesses, the operations of PZU in Poland and Friends First in Ireland.

The biggest shareholders in the new grouping will be the Achmea Co-operative with 72.4 per cent and BCP with 15.1 per cent. The remainder will be held by the other partners which include Friends Provident in the UK, France's MAFF, Topdanmark, in Denmark, and businesses in Switzerland and Sweden.

Friends Provident said yesterday that the deal would have no bearing on its plans to demutualise and float in the UK next year. Keith Satchell, chief executive said that Friends' decision not to consider injecting its business at this stage should not be taken as a sign of any lack of commitment. "It is important to understand that Friends Provident has taken the decision to demutualise and float based on the situation in the UK. We feel we have a lot to do."

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