NU Online News Service, Dec. 28, 12:05 p.m. – Ceres Group Inc., Cleveland, says it has raised $51.5 million by completing a previously announced sale of 16.1 million shares of common stock.

The investment banks on the underwriting team will split $5 million of the proceeds, Ceres says.

Ceres was already a publicly traded company before the stock offering, but it says it decided to raise cash by selling more stock to repay a portion of its bank debt, repurchase its convertible voting preferred stock, contribute to the capital of its insurance subsidiaries, and increase its level of working capital.

The lead managers of the offering were Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. Inc., Arlington, Va., and Sandler O’Neill & Partners L.P., New York.

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Inc., St. Louis, was the co-manager.