Number of potential bidders for Quinn now 'as few as two'
THE field for Quinn Insurance has narrowed to as few as two bidders, but sources last night insisted there was still a good chance that the business would be sold "intact".
The comments follow weekend reports that those bidding for Quinn Insurance Limited (QIL) wanted to buy the company's policies but would not take on future claims by QIL policyholders.
That outcome would have seen QIL's claims book remain under administration, with an Insurance Compensation Fund raised if the claims could not be fully met by the insurer's assets.
Well-placed sources yesterday dismissed those reports and said at least one buyer was still interested in taking on QIL's "entire" operation, including future claims by policyholders.
They confirmed, however, that all bidders have refused to take responsibility for future legal claims and enforcement actions against QIL, and so the QIL legal entity will not be sold as such.
"What you'd be looking at is taking on QIL's assets in the broad sense of the term -- that is, QIL's policyholders, reserves and future claims," said one source.
"What people won't take on is future legal claims against QIL."
QIL's administrators are understood to have refused bidders' request for an indemnity against those future legal claims earlier in the sales process.
The focus then turned to stripping the insurance business out of QIL's legal structure, and that process forms the basis of the remaining bids for QIL.
Sources close to the sales process also confirmed that just "two or three" bidders remained in the race for QIL, down from a shortlist of five.
The remaining bidders are understood to include a joint proposal from Anglo Irish Bank and US insurer Liberty Global.
A US-based spokesman for Liberty declined to comment, while QIL's administrators could not be reached for comment.
A spokesman for the Central Bank said that while the bank was given regular updates on the QIL situation, they could make no further comment.