A car insurer whose brands include Go Girl and Insure2Drive has picked bankers to steer it onto the London stock market.
Sky News has learnt that Sabre, which is owned by the private equity firm BC Partners, has hired Barclays and Numis Securities to oversee a listing that should value the company at more than £500m.
If it does go public, Sabre will add to a lengthening queue of companies which are pencilling in floats in the next six months as equity markets continue to perform strongly.
Bakkavor, a food producer, communications infrastructure group Arqiva and utilities firm Verastar are among a pack of companies that will collectively seek to raise hundreds of millions of pounds from City investors.
The biggest prize for the London Stock Exchange Group remains Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil giant which is assessing whether to list in the UK or US as part of a deal that should value it at well over $1trn.
Sabre’s owner may yet opt to sell the business rather than float it.
Sky News revealed in June that Qatar Reinsurance Company had teamed up with Centerbridge, a US-based investment firm, to attempt to buy Sabre from BC.
Discussions are still thought to be ongoing with the Centerbridge consortium, although a rival bidder, Warburg Pincus, has dropped out.
Sabre, which was founded in 1982, specialises in non-standard insurance products such as non-comprehensive cover and policies for newly-qualified motorists and taxi drivers.
The insurer was acquired by General Accident in 1996 and, following a series of mergers with Commercial Union and Norwich Union, it was sold to BDML Group, an independent insurance company.
In 2005, BDML sold its broking subsidiary, BDML Connect, to Capita and changed its name to Binomial Group Limited.Sabre, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Binomial, has seen policy numbers soar from 85,000 in 2005 to nearly 335,000 last year, and recorded a post-tax profit of more than £52m last year.
In a document published on its website, Sabre said that it would be affected by a pre-election move to reduce the Ogden discount rate used to calculate lump-sum payments to claimants, but described itself as “highly resilient to such a change”.
BC declined to comment on the appointment of Barclays and Numis.