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Record money; The Union ain't half a grand!

More than 300,000 Scots are in line for a cash windfall from insurance giant Norwich Union.

They can expect at least pounds 500 from the life assurance and pensions firm going for a Stock Market flotation.

All life or pensions policyholders with Norwich Union will qualify for free shares.

The minimum payment is expected to be pounds 500 in shares, but they won't learn the exact figure until spring.

They will also have the chance of extra shares at preferential rates.

But customers who simply insure their cars or homes through Norwich Union won't benefit as they are not deemed long term investors in the firm.

The company say they are blocking any new customers from becoming members to keep out "carpet-baggers" who could cash in on the deal.

The flotation aims to raise pounds 4.5billion for expansion plans.

Norwich Union will be the first conversion of a mutual life firm - owned by policyholders - into a public company.

The largest group, Edinburgh-based Standard Life, have repeatedly said they've "no plans" to go to the Stock Market.

Norwich Union are following in the footsteps of many building societies taking this route.

Mergers, flotations and buy-outs at other financial firms which herald a shares hand- out for members include:

The merging Halifax and Leeds building societies, who plan to float as a massive pounds 10billion company. It could net members an average pounds 900 in shares.

Woolwich members may get between pounds 750 and pounds 1000 in a deal not yet finalised.

Alliance & Leicester members could each get pounds 750.

Northern Rock members are ready for pounds 1000 from a planned flotation.

Bristol & West members will be entitiled to pounds 600 from a Bank of Ireland buy-out.

One financial analyst said: "Scots who were members of all the societies who have announced plans for a flotation or who have been taken over in recent years will have gained about pounds 10,000."
COPYRIGHT 1996 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Calder, Colin
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 3, 1996
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