Pearl hopes feud is over

Steve Dinneen
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PEARL is just days away from ending a long-running battle with its investors.

Bondholders are ready to hoist the white flag after months of acrimonious dispute over an unpaid coupon on £500m of its bonds.

The final straw appears to be the announcement by Pearl that it will not attempt to raise capital with its planned listing on the LSE this summer. Bondholders had threatened to block a potential fundraising.

City A.M. understands the deal, which is in its closing stages, does not offer any major new incentive to bondholders.

The insurer, founded by pizza entrepreneur Hugh Osmond, argued all investors were forced to take a big hit when the company ran into financial difficulties.

It hopes to cast off the troublesome issue before it switches its listing to London and is rebranded as Phoenix. The firm is now chaired by Ron Sandler, the chair of Northern Rock and a City veteran who is hoping to lead the group’s flotation.

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