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Gjensidige Forsikring Cuts Top of Price Range in IPO

Gjensidige Forsikring ASA, Norway’s largest property and casualty insurer, reduced the top end of the price range for its initial public offering, slated to be the biggest share sale in the Nordic country since 2006.

The bookrunners expect the offering to price at 56 kroner ($9.40) to 62 kroner a share, compared with a previous range of 54 kroner to 64 kroner, the Oslo-based company said today in a statement. The Gjensidige Foundation plans to sell as many as 181.65 million shares, with an over-allotment option for 18.16 million shares to raise as much as $2.1 billion.

“Gjensidige Forsikring is pleased with the increasing oversubscription and the investor quality,” the insurer said in the statement. “The offering has continued to attract strong investor interest, and a high conversion rate following investor meetings.”

The bookbuilding process ends on Dec. 9, with the first day of trading on the Oslo Stock Exchange scheduled for Dec. 10.

Share listings in Oslo have risen so far this year to 20 from 3 for all of last year, helped by a revival in economic growth and rising crude prices, according to data from the Oslo Stock Exchange. Norway’s benchmark OBX Index is up 14 percent this year, while oil prices have risen about 19 percent. Norway is the world’s seventh-largest oil exporter.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is global coordinator for the sale and joint bookrunner with Bank of America Corp. DnB NOR ASA, Pareto Securities ASA and Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. are helping to manage the offering, he said.

Expanding Abroad

Gjensidige’s third-quarter pretax profit rose to 1.3 billion kroner from 1.2 billion kroner a year earlier.

The company has been seeking to boost revenue by expanding outside its home country. It agreed in March to buy Nykredit Realkredit A/S’s non-life insurance division for 2.5 billion kroner to add 230,000 clients in Denmark, its seventh takeover outside Norway since 2006. It also bought Citigroup Inc.’s consumer-finance operations in Norway last year and Lithuania’s RESO Europa in 2008 to expand in the Baltics.

Statoil Fuel & Retail ASA, the gas station and fuel unit of oil and gas producer Statoil ASA, raised $920 million in Oslo’s biggest IPO this year.

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