Insurance broker Steadfast in push to list on stock exchange

Insurance broker Steadfast Group is pushing ahead with plans to list on the stock exchange in just over two months, despite choppy markets casting a cloud over other potential floats.

Insurance broker Steadfast Group is pushing ahead with plans to list on the stock exchange in just over two months, despite choppy markets casting a cloud over other potential floats.

While uncertainty is deterring other companies from floating, the Frank O'Halloran-chaired group is holding an extraordinary meeting next month to approve a restructure to pave the way for its shares to be listed.

Documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission show it plans to conduct an initial public offering in July, with trading in its shares beginning in mid-August.

After signing up Mr O'Halloran - the former QBE chief - as chairman last year, Steadfast is restructuring itself so that it has acquired equity stakes in up to 70 insurance brokers and four underwriting businesses before it floats.

The company's business model involves brokers joining forces to negotiate insurance rates with underwriters and then selling the policies to commercial customers. Its revenue from premiums was $3.7 billion last financial year.

Current shareholders will be asked to approve the restructure in mid-June, when they will also vote on granting interest-free loans to executives to buy shares in the listed company, as part of previous commitments to the executives.

Managing director Robert Kelly would receive a loan of $5 million and chief operating officer Cameron McCullagh would receive a loan of $4 million.

Chief financial officer Stephen Humprys would receive a loan of $1 million, and executive general manager Allan Reynolds would borrow $900,000.

The documents were lodged with ASIC earlier this month, but a spokeswoman said the company would not provide further comment because it was in pre-listing mode. JP Morgan and Macquarie Capital are advising on the float.

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