Friday 24 March 2017

Three groups vie for IL&P insurance unit

BIDS

Laura Noonan

Laura Noonan

AT least three groups will submit second-round bids for Irish Life & Permanent's life insurance business today, sources confirmed last night.

The Irish Independent also understands that at least one offer is likely to come in over the €1bn mark -- a threshold IL&P's government-owner is believed to be keen to meet.

The news comes after IL&P was effectively nationalised in July when the State pumped in €2.8bn in cash to boost the PLC's capital levels.

A further €1.1bn in capital is needed.

Canada Life Ireland, backed by the financial firepower of its owner Great West LifeCo, is the only trade player in the fray and is seen as the most desirable bidder from a strategic point of view.

The Great West LifeCo bid has echoes of Liberty Mutual's successful bid for Quinn Insurance -- the Liberty deal was fronted by the insurer's Irish-born chairman Ted Kelly, while Great West's Irish Life bid has the patronage of the insurance giant's Irish-born chief executive Allen Loney.

The other Irish Life bidders understood to be in the final three are private equity player CVC and a joint offer from JC Flowers and Apollo Global Management. US insurer Unum may also bid.

A spokesman for Irish Life & Permanent last night declined to comment on the bids.

The bids will initially be assessed by Deutsche Bank, which is running the sales process, but will also be scrutinised by the Department of Finance and its advisers Goldman Sachs.

The successful bidder will also have to get approval from the Central Bank for a "change of control" of Irish Life Assurance's licence.

Irish Independent

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