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Fortis arranges sale of Assurant stake

Belgian-Dutch bank Fortis said that it expected to recognize a capital gain of E250 million in 2005 as a result of the second public offering of US insurer Assurant.

Fortis said that it had priced the 27.2 million common shares offered in Assurant, the New York-based insurer that it successfully floated last February, at $30.60 per share.

The sale of its 36% stake in Assurant is believed to be part of Fortis’s overall plan to concentrate on its core businesses in Europe and on Asia. Fortis is expected to use some of the funds to make further acquisitions in Europe.

Morgan Stanley is the sole book running lead manager for the offering. Citigroup, Credit Suisse First Boston, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch & Co are joint lead underwriters for the offering.