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Saga gives customers priority in IPO

Over-50s insurer Saga Group has mapped out plans for a stock market float in which it has given its customers preference over retail investors

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Over-50s insurer Saga Group has mapped out plans for a stock market float in which it has given its customers preference over other retail investors.

The company, which sells insurance and holidays to customers over the age of 50, said existing Saga customers and employees will be offered the perk of one free share for every 20 bought.

These investors will be given preference over non-customers in the application process.

Private investors must apply for at least £1,000 of shares to qualify.

The initial public offering (IPO) will give Saga a market value of at least £2.2bn, making it the biggest listing in London since Royal Mail’s (LON:RMG) controversial sale.

It said the premium listing would raise £550mln, helping to reduce net debt to around £700mln.

The company is aiming to offer up at least 25% of its shares to the market, with selling shareholders including private equity groups Charterhouse, CVC and Permira, along with employees and other investors.

Saga said its stock will sit in the specialised consumer services sector even though almost three-quarters of its earnings come from insurance.

It has thus avoided a listing in the insurance sector, which City institutions had claimed would make the shares look pricey against its rivals.

Last year, Saga generated underlying revenues of £1.2bn and underlying EBITDA (earnings) of £222mln.

It is planning on launching a progressive dividend policy, with an initial pay-out ratio of 40-50% of the group’s net income.

Lance Batchelor, who quit Domino’s Pizza to lead Saga’s float, said: “I joined Saga because I can see a very strong future for this classic British success story. It is a business like few others: world class management; an unmatched brand; excellence in customer service; and a unique bond with customers.

“This combination of strengths gives Saga significant potential for consistent growth, which the team at Saga is confident this IPO will enhance. We hope many of our customers will become shareholders.”

Quick facts: Saga Group

Price: 43.04 GBX

LSE:SAGA
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £4.83 m
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