Standard Life names date for flotation vote

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The Independent Online

Standard Life, the Scottish life insurer, formally started the countdown to its demutualisation and flotation yesterday, scheduling its annual meeting for 31 May when 2.4 million members will get the chance to vote on the proposals.

The company said it would begin sending voting packs to members, with estimates of their windfall payouts, towards the end of next month.

All 2.4 million eligible policyholders will receive a fixed payout and a second variable payment, which will be determined by the size of policy, length of time it has been held and the market value of the company at the time of flotation.

Only those who have held policies before the end of March 2004 will qualify for the windfalls. All payouts will be made in the form of shares in the new company, except to policyholders from outside the UK, who will get cash.

To proceed with its demutualisation, the company needs 75 per cent approval from those members who vote. If successful, it will list on the London market during the summer.

Commenting on the start of the countdown yesterday, Standard Life's chairman Sir Brian Stewart said: "The board urges voting members to use their vote. Every voting member has one vote and an equal say, so each vote can make a difference. If you have a vote please use it."

He added: "We believe demutualisation and flotation will give eligible members their share in the value of the business, reduce with-profits investors' exposure to business risks and allow the company to access external equity capital. The board continues to believe demutualisation and flotation are in the best interests of members, policyholders and our business."