Reinsurer Conduit Holdings Ltd. rose as it started trading in London after a 826 million-pound ($1.1 billion) initial public offering, the second largest by a British company on the London Stock Exchange this year.
The stock climbed 5.6% to 528 pence at 9:06 a.m. from the offering price of 500 pence. The company sold 164.1 million shares, according to a statement Wednesday. The order book closed on Tuesday, two days earlier than planned.
The newly established underwriting business is betting on rising prices for commercial insurance. Its cost, which had already been increasing for the last few years, has jumped as the coronavirus pandemic raises risks across multiple lines of business.
And while insurers and reinsurers have been roiled by the spread of the virus, leading to billions of dollars in claims, Conduit doesn’t have the burden of a legacy portfolio. The company plans to write reinsurance in the property, casualty and specialty classes, and is targeting a dividend payout of 5% to 6% of equity capital as early as in 2021, according to its prospectus.
Longtime insurance executives Neil Eckert and Trevor Carvey set up Conduit to capitalize on “an exceptional” market opportunity with years of losses and the recent strain on the industry during the pandemic producing “major corrections” in reinsurance pricing as well as policy terms & conditions, the company said.
Offerings by domestic issuers in London have been in short supply, with the UK yet to negotiate a Brexit deal weeks before the year-end deadline. The listing is the largest in the City since online retailer THG Holdings Ltd.’s 1.88 billion-pound September debut.
Conduit also contributes to a late-year surge in IPO proceeds in the UK. About $10.7 billion has been raised in London this year, compared with $8 billion over the same period last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Jefferies Group LLC and Panmure Gordon & Co. are joint global coordinators and bookrunners on Conduit’s IPO.