Thousands in line for Standard Life payout
The payment is worth close to €1,000 each for an estimated 60,000 Irish shareholders.
These people ended up with shares in the Edinburgh-headquartered company when it de-mutualised, and floated on the London Stock Market in 2006.
Now the insurer has sold its Canadian division, and plans to pay €2.18bn of the proceeds of the sale back to the shareholders.
A spokesman for the company said the windfall would work out at around £740 (€923) on average for the 60,000 shareholders here.
That means a total of more than €55m will be coming to shareholders in this country when the special payout is made.
However, it will be early next year before payments are issued.
Shareholders will have to decide how they want to take their windfall.
They will have a choice of getting new bonus shares, or they can instead choose to take cash in the form of a one-off dividend.
If shareholders choose the shares and decide to sell them, then they will have to pay capital gains tax on any capital appreciation, with the tax rate on this at 33pc.
Taking the windfall in the form of a special dividend will expose them to income tax. If they are paying tax at the highest rate, this could mean 52pc of any gain goes to the Revenue.
Tax experts said choosing to pay capital gains tax was usually more favourable than paying income tax.
They said Revenue was likely to issue tax guidance when the shareholders are due to make a decision.
Standard Life is due to post a circular on the sale of its Canadian division to its shareholders this week.
Shares in Standard Life, which has a large operation based in Dublin, have doubled in value since the company “went public” in 2006.
At the time there were more than 90,000 shareholders here, but around a third of those have since sold out.
But it still has a huge number of retail investors in Britain and Ireland.
When Standard Life floated eight years ago policyholders received an average of 640 free shares, with a further 32 shares if they kept their holding for 12 months.
About half of the group’s membership was entitled to payments of between €725 and €1,450 each from the biggest mutual player in the European market. The other half were entitled to more than €1,450 each.
Overall, the windfall was worth around €70m.
Standard Life is selling its Canadian operation to Toronto-based Manulife for £2.2bn (€2.7bn).
The deal still has to go through several processes, including a shareholder vote, but these are said to be formalities.
After that, £1.75bn (€2.2bn) will get returned to shareholders. Standard Life chief executive David Nish said the deal allows the company to realise the value of the business, which has been turned around in recent years.
The capital payout of £1.75bn, equivalent to 73p per share, will take the total amount of dividends and returns to shareholders since 2010 to 147p per share, he said
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