Citigroup's Primerica IPO Raises $320 Million

Citigroup's Primerica IPO
Citigroup's Primerica IPO

The dismantling of the financial supermarket once known as Citigroup (C) continued apace after the banking giant priced an initial public offering of its Primerica insurance business, selling more than 21 million shares at $15 a piece, for about $320 million in total. Citi originally expected the Primerica IPO to sell just 18 million shares for $12 to $14 each.

Primerica, based in Duluth, Ga., is among the businesses Citi CEO Vikram Pandit has pledged to sell, restructure or shutter after taking $45 billion in federal bailout funds. Primerica begins trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol (PRI). All proceeds from the IPO will go to Citi, the company said in a statement.

The IPO and a related private transaction are expected to reduce Citi's GAAP (or generally accepted accounting principals) assets by about $5 billion during the second quarter.

"The Primerica public offering and private sale are in line with Citi's strategy to reduce non-core assets, tightly manage risks and optimize the value of assets in Citi Holdings, while working to generate long-term profitability and growth from Citicorp, which comprises the company's core businesses," the company statement said.

Last week, the Treasury Dept. said it will sell its 27% stake in Citi over the course of the year, setting the government up to reap billions in profit. In early March, Pandit told a congressional panel that his company is now among the best-capitalized banks in the world and deploys far less leverage. He said Citi has cut the size of its balance sheet by half-a-trillion dollars, or 21%, from peak levels in the third quarter of 2007 and substantially reduced its exposure to risky assets.