Royal & Sun shares sink on asbestos lawsuit


Shares in Royal & Sun Alliance plunged today after Britain's second-biggest general insurer said an engineering firm was suing it over asbestos claims.

The timing could hardly be worse for Royal & Sun, which needs to raise at least £750 million sterling to repair its balance sheet and revive earnings.

He said Turner was claiming Royal & Sun was liable because it provided employer liability policies to the engineer. He could not put a number on how many claims it was facing.

A Royal & Sun spokesman said British engineering group Turner & Newall had brought forward the suit on behalf of former employees who had suffered asbestos-related disease.

Shares fell as much as 14.6 per cent to 99p at the opening bell before paring losses to trade down 9.9 per cent at 104-1/2p by 9.30 a.m.