Pru boss goes north to woo shareholders

PRUDENTIAL chief Tidjane Thiam will visit Edinburgh today in a bid to convince the insurer’s Scottish shareholders to back its bid for American Insurance Group’s Asian assets.

Thiam will speak to fund managers from Standard Life, Scottish Widows and Baillie Gifford over Prudential’s planned $35.5bn (£23.4bn) swoop on American International Assurance. The British giant needs to raise $20bn through a rights issue to part-fund the deal.

Last week Thiam met around 30 fund managers in London, many of whom complained the 45-minute sessions were too brief given the considerable commitment involved in backing the takeover.

As a result the Scottish meetings will be longer and more detailed, although Thiam is restricted in what he can say as the rights issue prospectus has yet to be published.

The boss will go on to meet smaller investors throughout the week, and may revisit some of the shareholders he canvassed last week.

City fears have focussed on the heavily dilutive effect the rights issue will have on existing investors. While the move on AIA is undoubtedly bold, question marks have also been raised over the size of the deal and Prudential’s assumptions on revenues and cost savings.

Prudential’s share price fell for two days after the proposed deal was announced. The stock rallied 6.6 per cent last week to close at 552.5p.