Capital Guaranty Insurance Co. raised $141.75 million last night in an initial public offering underwritten by Merrill Lynch & Co.

Merrill priced 6.75 million shares at $21, at the top of the range the company predicted in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The sale completes a long restructuring for Capital Guaranty, ending months of uncertainty about its future ownership.

If the company's 13.6% over-allotment is sold, about 83% of Capital Guaranty will be publicly owned, according to Michael Djordjevich, president and chief executive officer of Capital Guaranty.

Starting today, the San Fransisco-based primary bond insurer will be the fifth financial guarantor to trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

If the "greenshoe" is exercised it will allow two of Capital Guaranty's largest institutional investors, Fleet/Norstar Financial Group and United States Fidelity and Guaranty Co., to completely divest their holdings.

Originally slated for four million shares, demand from both retail and institutional investors prompted underwriters to increase the offering to 6.75 million shares.

The $21 price puts the primary bond insurer at a price earnings ratio of about 10.7 to 1, based on Merrill Lynch's preliminary figures. That compares with 11.7 for AMBAC Indemnity Corp., 12 for Capital Re Corp., 11 for Enhance FiNancial Services, and 14 for MBIA Inc.

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