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F&C set for flotation in Europe

Public shares in F&C could soon be available after parent Eureko said it was considering seeking a stock exchange listing for the fund firm which is one of the UK&#39s oldest.

Eureko, the Amsterdam-registered financial services group, will look to retain a majority shareholding following an initial public offering, which it says will have no impact on F&C&#39s position as its main asset management firm. The move has the full backing of F&C&#39s senior management and is likely to go ahead around the middle of this year although Eureko says it could be later in the year. It would not comment on its hopes for the flotation.

There is no firm decision on which country will see the listing but it will be in Europe, where Eureko has focused the business since it bought the firm for £460m in March 2001. It has since looked to integrate Eureko&#39s local asset management activities in the Netherlands, Ireland and Portugal. It also has a presence in Germany and France but the majority of F&C&#39s investment management and support operations are based in London.

F&C has around £64bn of assets under management and employs more than 400 staff. In the year to December 31, 2003, it had revenues of around £140m, with two-thirds coming from continental Europe.

Chief executive Robert Jenkins says: “A listed subsidiary is a model which has worked well for other asset managers and is one which should help us take further advantage of opportunities to develop the business further for the benefit of clients, shareholders and employees.”

Eureko chairman and chief executive Gijsbert Swalef says: “Our philosophy has been to treat F&C as an autonomous business within the Eureko Group. A listing is a natural and logical next step and we continue to back F&C&#39s ambitions.”

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