LONDON (AP) _ France's Compagnie Financiere SFAC will launch a friendly bid for British insurer Trade Indemnity Group PLC, the two companies announced Thursday.

The bid values Trade Indemnity at 177.3 million pounds (about $268 million), or 97 pence per share. That price is a premium of about 32.9 percent over Trade Indemnity's share price at Wednesday's close.

Compagnie Financiere SFAC is a holding company with main assets in credit insurers and factoring companies. Trade Indemnity is a provider of short-term trade credit insurance.

The international credit-insurance group that would be created from the merger will improve marketing opportunities, John Bishop, chief executive of Trade Indemnity, said in a prepared release.