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F&C chief says clients “positive” about IPO plan

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EUROPE – The chief executive of asset manager F&C says its clients are positive about its plans to seek a stock market listing.

“Client reaction has been positive,” said Robert Jenkins in an interview following an announcement by parent company Eureko that its is considering an initial public offering for F&C. Jenkins said the move was a natural step. “For us it’s evolutionary not revolutionary.”

“It will not affect fund managers and marketing people,” he added. He said the IPO was not designed to raise money for F&C, pointing to double-digit earnings growth and a debt-free balance sheet.

Jenkins, who has been CEO since 1998, would remain. “I’m fully committed to this company,” he said.

“This initiative has the full endorsement of the senior management team of F&C,” said a statement. Under the plan Netherlands-based Eureko would retain a majority stake in
F&C.

"The acquisition of F&C has been a great success for Eureko,” said Eureko CEO Gijsbert Swalef. “Our clients have benefited from the greater scale and breadth of capabilities, whilst F&C's profitability has increased significantly despite the declines in global markets in recent years.

No timetable has yet been set for a listing. Jenkins said it would not take place outside Europe.

Separately, Eureko said its expects 2003 net income of “well over” 200 million euros, compared to a 573.8 million loss before.

“Eureko´s Executive Board believes that these very positive preliminary results are an affirmation of the strategy pursued, and of the difficult but necessary decisions taken during the course of 2003 to streamline operations and to bring the Group back to profitability,” it said in a statement.

Eureko bought 90% of the then Foreign & Colonial Management for 666.8 million euros in 2000, and the remainder in 2001.

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