Partnership Assurance breathed new life into the London Stock Exchange yesterday as it rounded off the latest IPO of 2013.
Shares in the company, which specialises in giving better pensions to people who are ill, closed at 450p, almost 17 per cent above their 385p listing price. This valued the insurer at more than £1.8bn.
Blackrock and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund were among the investors in the stock market listing. This raised £485m for Partnership and its investors, including boss Steve Groves, who netted £12m.
He said: “The appetite for Partnership’s differentiated growth story is reflected in the strong, high-quality investor demand our IPO has attracted.
“I now look forward to executing the next phase of our strategy to expand our reach and market share further as we continue to translate Partnership’s ability to provide a better deal for customers into profitable growth and attractive returns.” The private-equity firm Cinven, which bought Partnership for £158m in 2008, said it had made seven times its original investment. Cinven will retain a 52 per cent stake in the group worth about £800m.
Partnership is the latest company to join the LSE this year, following Crest Nicholson, Countrywide and Esure.
The group is likely to join the FTSE 250 at the market’s next reshuffle in September, although critics doubt its long-term prospects, claiming it will face growing competition from mainstream annuity providers such as Prudential and Legal & General.
Partnership’s chairman Chris Gibson-Smith added: “This is an important milestone on Partnership’s journey. We look forward to being listed on the London Stock Exchange and to delivering further value for our customers and our shareholders.”
The LSE has had its best year since 2007 as regards UK companies floating. Dealogic said eight flotations this year have raised a total of $3.7bn (£2.4 bn), before Partnership.
By this time last year there had been just one float, raising $48m. London accounted for 47 per cent of the value of floats across Europe, the highest ever.