Esure Plans London IPO as Founder Reduces Stake

Esure Group Plc, the U.K. motor insurer started by Direct Line Insurance Group Plc founder Peter Wood, said it plans an initial public offering as its chairman reduces his holding.

The company plans to raise 50 million pounds ($76 million) in the offering of new shares, while Wood, the chairman, and Tosca Penta Investments LP will also sell stock, the company said in a statement today. The company, based in Surrey, England, will use the money to repay a loan from Tosca, which it received during its management buyout from Lloyds Banking Group Plc in 2010.

Wood is taking advantage of rising equity markets in the beginning of 2013 as he seeks to build a more diverse base of investors. A successful share sale would follow Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s IPO of Direct Line, the U.K.’s biggest home and motor insurer, which raised 787 million pounds for the lender in October. Direct Line is up 12.2 percent since then.

Esure is going public after reporting full-year pretax profit more than doubled to 115.5 million pounds. The general insurer seeks to beat its competitors by targeting safer drivers such as people over the age of 30 and women, who it sells to through its Sheila’s Wheels brand.

“Our record of outperformance is down to our granular understanding of risk, our conservative underwriting approach and our speed in reacting to change,” Wood said in the statement.

Deutsche Bank AG, JPMorgan Cazenove, Canaccord Genuity and Numis Securities Ltd. are advising on the offering.

(Updates with Direct Line IPO in third paragraph.)
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