PHOENIX Group is seeking shareholder approval to raise £250 million through a share placing to cut debt.

The firm – which runs closed life funds including Scottish Provident, Alba, Britannic and Scottish Mutual – proposes to give almost 0.2 open offer shares for every share held to raise £170m. Hedge fund Och-Ziff has pledged £80m for 16 million shares.

Phoenix said the placing will allow it to cut debt from almost £2.4 billion to less than £1.9bn and extend bank facilities with Impala until 2019. It said trading is in line with expectations and it plans to raise its final dividend 27% to 26.7p.

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