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Friends First in phase II of European growth Back  
Friends First is to be part of the newly-formed Eureko NV company which has announced its intention to seek a public listing on European stock markets within two years.

Eureko will be the majority shareholder of Friends First. According to the company, its involvement in a publicly-quoted financial services group will offer considerable opportunities.

John Cunningham, general manager of group planning and marketing for Friends First, said the IPO would mean that ‘Friends First are very much a part of a quoted company and the change and enhancement of our business that we have carried out over the last few years will continue. This will help our move towards aggressive and dynamic growth.’

He said the company had invested some E50m in its finance business last year and was active in aggressively growing this sector, while it had also evolved its pension business over several years. He said the company was now structured to concentrate on its core profitable sectors of finance, life and pensions.
‘We’ve invested IR?25 million in infrastructure over the last few years and this couldn’t have happened without the support and partnership of our European collegues.’

According to Cunningham , the streamlining of the business and the recent aggressive growth policy was phase I, adding, ‘The IPO really brings us into phase II of our growth.’

However, there are no specifics being mentioned in relation to new opportunities at this stage. Cunningham said that making the IPO happen effectively was a huge challenge facing Friends First.

Eureko intends to develop as a pan-European financial services group. The company believes that a stock
exchange listing would give it access to capital markets and position Eureko to be an active player in insurance acquisitions and partnerships in Europe.

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