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Principal’s Stock Rises in IPO

October 23, 2001

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Shares of insurer Principal Financial Group Inc. rose 13.5 percent in their market debut Tuesday.

The shares, trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ``PFG,″ closed at $21. Principal sold 100 million shares late Monday at $18.50, raising $1.85 billion in its initial public offering.

Principal was one of the first companies, and by far the largest, to go public after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Even before that, the IPO market has been generally slow this year amid the general market slump.

J. Barry Griswell, president and chief executive officer, who participated in opening ceremonies of the stock exchange Tuesday with about a dozen employees of the Des Moines-based company, admitted that board members and executives had been nervous because of the volatile market.

``I think we’ve all been nervous. There’s just so much uncertainty and nervousness in the market and you just didn’t know what to expect,″ Griswell said.

However, the lack of competing initial offerings may have also helped bring attention to Principal, he said.

``There was also an advantage to being the only one out there,″ he said.

Principal has been a mutual insurance company and its policyholders have a stake in the company and share in the $1.85 billion through cash and policy credits. About 260 million shares will be distributed to eligible policyholders as outlined under the insurance company’s demutualization plan.


On the Net: http://www.principal.com

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