In Brief

Virgin Money flotation: Branson aims to raise £150m

Richard Branson's Virgin Money will become the fourth bank this year to float on the London Stock Exchange

Virgin Money, the banking arm of Richard Branson's Virgin empire, has revealed plans for a stock market listing, which could see the financial services brand valued at £2bn.

The plan to float shares on the London Stock Exchange is expected to raise about £150m which will be used to recruit new staff and support the company's growth plans.

If successful, Virgin Money will become the fourth bank to float this year, following the listings of both OneSavings and Aldermore, and the demerger of TSB from Lloyds Banking Group.

After the company is listed it will pay £50m of the proceeds to HM Treasury as part of its acquisition of the "non-toxic" elements of ailing Northern Rock in 2011. The deal was contingent on Virgin Money floating before the end of 2016.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief executive of Virgin Money told the BBC's business editor, Kamal Ahmed, that in her view taxpayers have already gained all their money back from the company's bailout of Northern Rock.

According to Sky News, Virgin Money will appointment Barclays, KBW and Citi to act as bookrunners on the initial public offering (IPO). The three banks will work alongside Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs on the process.

Gadhia said in "recognition of their hard work to date and their contribution to the future value of the business, I am also delighted to announce that each employee will be awarded £1,000 worth of shares in the business upon flotation".

Virgin Money had been expected to launch its IPO next year, but according to Sky News, Scotland's rejection of independence in the referendum last month and the company's strong recent trading persuaded the bank's board to move ahead with the plans earlier than anticipated. Virgin Money's pre-tax profits had a fourfold increase to £59.7m in the first half of this year on 28 per cent-increased revenues of £210m, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Branson said of the plans: "This is a huge day for Virgin Money. We started this company 20 years ago with Jayne-Anne Gadhia when we set out to challenge the financial services industry. Our wonderful team have come a long way since then and have built a strong and valuable business offering great value products and services and a real challenge to the established players."

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