Virgin Money seeks to resume 2 billion pound London listing

November 4
2:15 AM 2014

UK lender Virgin Money is seeking to go ahead with its postponed London stock market listing amid firmer market conditions by the end of next week, two sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

"It is set to come this week or next week," one of the sources said, adding that the window for listings to launch was narrowing in the run-up to Christmas.

The company, backed by billionaires Richard Branson and Wilbur Ross, said on Oct. 17 it was postponing its initial public offering (IPO). The business had planned to raise around 150 million pounds in a float that could value the firm at 1.5 billion to 2 billion pounds.

However, it was forced to postpone the listing about a fortnight later as market conditions soured amid concerns over global growth, along with other companies including used car firm British Car Auctions and French energy services firm Spie.

Volatility has since calmed, with markets soothed by Japan's surprise boost to its economic stimulus program and a slew of strong corporate earnings. The sources said the stronger macroeconomic environment was helping prospects for companies coming to market.

Swiss biotech company Molecular Partners said it would resume bookbuilding for its IPO on Monday, after cutting the offer price of its shares to below the original range.

Virgin said in a trading update last Friday its mortgage completions in the July-September period were 19 percent higher than the average in the previous two quarters, and its mortgage book had increased by 3 percent to 20.9 billion pounds during the three months.

The same day, bank shares rallied after the Bank of England said it was imposing less stringent new capital rules on lenders than had been expected, which the sources said helped the company's prospects for a listing.

Virgin Money was not immediately available for comment outside normal office hours.

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