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Nov 17, 2021

Definity raises $1.4B in largest Canadian IPO of 2021

Definity shares pop in market debut after company raised $1.4B in Canada's largest IPO of 2021

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Definity Financial Corp., the property and casualty insurer formerly known as Economical Mutual Insurance Co., raised about $1.4 billion (US$1.1 billion) in the largest Canadian initial public offering of the year. 

A total of 63.6 million shares were sold for $22 apiece, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company said in a release late Wednesday, the top end of the range it had targeted. The company is also selling another $700 million in shares in a private placement to the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan and Swiss Re. 

Definity’s offering is the third-largest IPO of a Canadian company in the past five years and a rare new offering from a financial firm in a year dominated by technology deals. 

The insurer’s offering also completes its six-year march toward public markets that follows a similar path to the one Manulife Financial Corp. and Sun Life Financial Inc., Canada’s two largest life-insurance companies, took two decades ago. Those companies, like Definity, transitioned from mutual insurers, owned by policyholders, to shareholder-owned public companies. 

Definity is the seventh-largest provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada, with a 4.6 per cent share of the market, selling under the Economical Insurance, Sonnet Insurance, Family Insurance and Petline Insurance names. The company’s $2.38 billion in gross written premiums in the first nine months of 2021 are up 16 per cent from a year earlier. The shares will be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “DFY.”

Economical Insurance was founded in 1871, only four years after Canada become a country. All of the proceeds of the offering will fund cash benefits of the demutualization process to some policyholders, the company said. 

The offering is being led by BMO Capital Markets, RBC Capital Markets and Barclays Plc. The IPO and the private placements, which add up to $2.1 billion, are expected to close Nov. 23.