AA shares drift on market debut

The AA was valued at £1.4 billion today before enduring the same lacklustre stock market debut as former sister company Saga.

The AA priced its shares at 250p in a flotation which has led to the exit of its private equity owners and allowed it to raise £184.7 million
The AA priced its shares at 250p in a flotation which has led to the exit of its private equity owners and allowed it to raise £184.7 million

The motoring organisation, which has four million members, priced its shares at 250p in a flotation which has led to the exit of its private equity owners and allowed the company to raise £184.7 million.

Control of the business has passed to a management buy-in team led by former Green Flag boss Bob Mackenzie and backed by institutional investors including Aviva and Legal & General.

In conditional dealings, the stock fell as low as 231p in a performance echoing last month's sale of shares in over-50s holidays and insurance company Saga, which was also part of Acromas Holdings.

Saga and the AA were combined in a £6.2 billion deal at the height of the credit boom in 2007 to form Acromas, owned by private equity firms CVC, Permira, and Charterhouse. The business was funded by £4.8 billion of bank debt.

Saga recently began trading on the London stock market with a value of around £ 2 billion but shares are 15p lower than their opening price of 185p, having earlier been priced at the bottom end of expectations.

The AA offer was oversubscribed, allowing Acromas to sell all of its holding and the company to raise funds towards reducing its £3 billion debt pile.

AA chief executive Chris Jansen said: " We are delighted that we have seen such strong demand for shares in AA plc.

"It is no doubt driven by a combination of the core strengths of the business and the expectation of what we can do with the business in the future.

"Everyone at the AA is delighted that we will soon be a public company and we are all looking forward to the next chapter in our 109 year history."