Monday 22 January 2018

Insurers are eyeing up €1bn of distressed banks' assets

Roisin Burke

Bank of Ireland may be going to Zurich -- or part of it, at least. Close to €1bn worth of insurance assets owned by broken Irish banks may be sold off to big insurers.

Zurich is said to be eyeing up BoI's New Ireland Insurance life and pensions business. "New Ireland's premium book would be worth circa €1bn, but Zurich wouldn't pay that," a banking source said.

"It's a distressed sale in bad times, so €500,000 is a likely sale value."

And Aviva may mop up the circa €55m worth of two insurance business stakes AIB holds with it. "Aviva would not pay more than half [of] what AIB bought it for," a banking source said. AIB's share was worth €100m for 25 per cent interest in a joint venture with Aviva in Ark Life in 2005.

Allianz could pay €100m-plus for the stake Irish Life & Permanent has in its business.

Meanwhile, there's growing talk that the race to buy EBS is fast becoming a one-horse one, with Cardinal Asset Management likely to steal the day from rival IL&P.

Cardinal had a meeting in Brussels last week, requested by the European Commission, to discuss its bid. Cardinal backer Wilbur Ross is also an investor in Richard Branson's Virgin Money, which is currently making a big play into the retail banking market in Britain.

Sunday Independent

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