New directors on board at Pearl as it heads for UK float

David Hellier
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FUND management and insurance group Pearl yesterday said it was pressing ahead with a London stock market flotation despite its well-publicised wrangle with bondholders.

The company, which is being renamed as Phoenix, is not raising any new capital at the time of its listing.

Shareholders Liberty Acquisitions and Hugh Osmond, the group’s founder, do not want new shares to be issued at the current time.

But Pearl also felt that a capital raising might run into problems while the group is still at loggerheads with its bondholders.

Pearl said it was still talking to its dissident bondholders with a view to getting an agreement over the non-payment of the coupon on £500m of its bonds.

Pearl said its strong performance in the second half of the year resulted in cash generation from its subsidiaries of more than its target £500m for 2009.

The group also announced the appointment of three non-executive directors, deputy chair of Aberdeen Asset Management David Woods, the Jersey based Charles Clark, and Isabel Hudson.

The group has also appointed JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank as advisers to the flotation. The Deutsche team will be led by Tadhg Flood, who acted for Barclays in its ultimately unsuccessful bid for ABN Amro, together with Martyn Dodgson and Andrew Smith.

Leading JP Morgan’s team will be Tim Wise.