Struggling RSA asks for £775m from investors

 
Kate McCann
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INSURER RSA has asked its shareholders for £775m to help steer it out of troubled water following huge losses in the Irish arm of the business.

The group announced a rights issue alongside its disappointing annual results yesterday, in addition to further asset sales.

RSA announced a £244m pre-tax net loss for 2013 which it attributes to the Irish losses and bad weather.

The insurer is stripping back its core business to UK and Ireland, Canada, Scandinavia and Latin America and continuing with a programme of self-help which it hopes will raise £300m from business disposals.

New chief executive of the group Stephen Hester, who has been brought in to turn fortunes around at the struggling insurer, said the results were disappointing.

“We are in the difficult position of both asking shareholders for significant funds, and announcing poor results for 2013,” he said.

On the future for the company he added: “Our strong and shared ambition is to see RSA as a resilient and valuable company, performing at its best, and reliably so. Our business needs to operate well relative to comparable peers and make returns to shareholders in excess of the cost of the increased tangible capital we will employ. We will keep working until that is achieved.”

Shares closed down four per cent at 98.1p yesterday.