Pru's plan to float egg is 'still on track'

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The Independent Online

Prudential, the life insurer, yesterday said its plans for a partial flotation of its egg internet bank were still on track, as it announced a 54 per cent rise in first-quarter insurance and investment premiums.

Prudential, the life insurer, yesterday said its plans for a partial flotation of its egg internet bank were still on track, as it announced a 54 per cent rise in first-quarter insurance and investment premiums.

George Dulmer, group financial controller, said: "The position on the flotation remains exactly as we announced at our preliminary results, which is that we plan for an IPO."

Egg, which is estimated to be worth up to £4bn, opened almost 42,000 new deposit accounts in the first quarter. Its mortgage book was £1.8bn, while egg credit-card balances reached £464m.

The insurer's long-term insurance and investment premiums rose to £3.9bn in the three months to 31 March, against £2.5bn in the year-before period. Analysts said a disappointing UK showing was offset by strong growth in overseas operations.

Separately yesterday, the Co-operative Bank said its smile internet subsidiary had recruited 120,000 account holders since its launch six months ago.

Mervyn Pedelty, group chief executive, said he was considering taking the stand-alone bank, which offers the only fully operational internet-based current account in the UK, into Europe "in the next few years". He added that the company hoped to make an announcement this summer about offering "a highly competitive mortgage service with an ecological element", both through smile and its network of 150 branches.

The Co-op bank made pre-tax profits of £88.7m for the year to 8 January 2000, up by 20 per cent from the previous year.

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