Swiss Re has pulled the £3bn flotation of ReAssure, its UK life insurance business, blaming weak investor demand. Trading in the shares had been due to start this week.
The company launched the IPO last month but on Thursday said that there had been “heightened caution and weak underlying demand” from institutional investors in the UK market.
John Dacey, Swiss Re’s chief financial officer, said: “While we firmly believe that the long-term interests of ReAssure are best served by a more diversified shareholder base, there has been no pressing need for Swiss Re to divest shares at a price that we consider to be unrepresentative of ReAssure’s value and future prospects.”
He added: “We retain our objective to reduce Swiss Re’s ownership in order to de-consolidate ReAssure.”
ReAssure specialises in buying up old books of life insurance business that other insurers no longer want. Swiss Re said last year that it planned to float the business in 2019.
One of the reasons given for the IPO was that it would allow ReAssure to move from the Swiss regulatory regime to the UK system, which it said was more suitable for the kind of business it does.
Swiss Re and Japan’s MS&AD, which also owns a stake in ReAssure, had planned to remain shareholders after the IPO.
Mr Dacey said: “Swiss Re and MS&AD remain fully committed and supportive of ReAssure and its management team, and will participate in future acquisitions in line with their respective shareholdings.”