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PEARL DIVING IN FOR pounds 500m.

INSURANCE group Pearl are planning to raise pounds 500million from investors and float on the London Stock Exchange.

The group, who manage closed funds including London Life, Phoenix and NPI, yesterday said they were planning an acqusition drive.

But they added that the debt-funded model which had served them in the past was no longer appropriate.

Pearl are in advanced discussions to raise the cash and restructure their capital before seeking a listing.

They were reported to also be in talks with their 17 lending banks in a bid to reduce their pounds 3billion debt.

The company, who could be worth pounds 2billion, may be looking to take advantage of a sharp fall in the value of listed life assurers.

Pearl's parent group are owned by financier Hugh Osmond, who made his name in the leisure sector.

He co-founded Pizza Express, amassing a fortune from the chain's flotation in 1996, and was chairman of pub group Punch Taverns.

Pearl specialise in snapping up and consolidating closed life funds, which are no longer open to new business..
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 9, 2009
Words:176
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