Norwich members in line for pounds 800 on float

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The Independent Online
Nic Cicutti

Personal Finance Editor

Norwich Union, one of the UK's biggest mutual insurers, yesterday unveiled plans to give its 2.9 million qualifying members free shares worth about pounds 800 each when it floats on the stock market next month.

Norwich Union expects to hand out 1.3 billion free shares. Qualifying with-profits policy members will entitled to a minimum of 300 shares each, with more handed out on the basis of how much has been invested.

Qualifying non-profit policy members will each receive a fixed allocation of 150 shares.

The company said it would also offer members a significant discount on pounds 1.75bn of shares it is planning to sell in an additional capital- raising exercise.

Of this money, pounds 1.5bn will be paid into Norwich Union's with-profit fund, to replace the value of the company's general insurance arm previously held in it.

Details of the discount will be sent to members after 21 May, with dealing set to start on 16 June. The minimum application for shares will be pounds 400. Closing date for applications is 10 June.