Symetra Financial today became the third Washington-based company to postpone its initial public offering in recent months, citing the ongoing...

Symetra Financial today became the third Washington-based company to postpone its initial public offering in recent months, citing the ongoing turmoil in the stock markets.

Bellevue-based Symetra, the former life and investments division of Safeco that was sold to private investors three years ago, “believes that current conditions are not favorable to maximizing shareholder value.”

Symetra’s $750 million IPO had been slated for sometime next week, according to Renaissance Capital of Greenwich, Conn.

The company’s shareholders, primarily Berkshire Hathaway and White Mountains Insurance, had planned to sell 39.5 million shares for $18 to $20 apiece, in what would rank as the state’s second-largest initial stock offering; Symetra would not receive any of the proceeds.

In its statement, the company said it would continue to monitor market conditions, and that its registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission remains effective.

So far this year, only one Washington company, Renton-based First Financial Northwest, has succeeded in going public. In August, Tully’s Coffee of Seattle postponed its $38.5 million offering; DuPont-based Venture Financial Group put its $39 million deal on ice in September.

Three other in-state companies — Imperium Renewables, Varolii and Sound Community Bank, all headquartered in Seattle — have IPOs pending.

Drew DeSilver: 206-464-3145 or ddesilver@seattletimes.com