Virgin Money in stock market launch

Richard Branson and Virgin Money CEO Jayne-Anne Gadhia

Richard Branson and Virgin Money CEO Jayne-Anne Gadhia - Credit: Archant

Virgin Money, the lender backed by billionaire Sir Richard Branson launched itself on the Stock Market with a valuation of around £1.25bn.

The Newcastle-based company priced its shares at 283p – the bottom end of the 283p-to-333p range it indicated last week after it revived plans for a listing due to an improvement in stock market conditions.

The issue was scheduled for October but a collapse in investor confidence in the world economy caused a delay to its plans.

The price of the Stock Market newcomer was little changed in conditional dealings today prior to the formal launch of trading on Tuesday.

The initial public offering will raise £150m, which the company intends to use in a drive to boost its share of the UK mortgage lending market to over 3pc, as well as to lift its credit card lending from £1bn to £3bn by 2018.

The lender employs more than 2,500 staff, with 1,700 based in Gosforth, Newcastle, and 200 in Norwich. It is owned by Sir Richard's Virgin Group, Wall Street billionaire Wilbur Ross and an Abu Dhabi investment fund.

Virgin, which has an office on the Norwich Business Park, Whiting Road, employing more than 200 people, agreed to buy the former failed lender Northern Rock from the government for an initial £820m in 2011.

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Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief executive of the EDP Top100 firm, said: 'As we begin life as a public company, we are committed to maintaining the straightforward, transparent approach to business that we believe helps differentiate us.'