Friday 27 April 2018

Lobby group mounts legal challenge to Quinn sale


Laura Noonan

THE family of Sean Quinn will mount no objection to today's sale of Quinn Insurance, but a local lobby group has begun a last-ditch challenge to Anglo Irish Bank and Liberty Mutual's planned takeover.

Documents seen by the Irish Independent show the Concerned Irish Business group, which represents about 580 businesses, is arguing that the sale is bad for the taxpayer and overly favourable to bondholders and the new owners.

They're asking the court to postpone the sale so other options for the insurer can be considered. The group had previously supported plans by the Quinn family to take over the insurer in partnership with Anglo Irish Bank.

It is not clear whether any other parties are proposing to lodge a bid ahead of the deal's formal passage through the courts today, but the Irish Independent has learned that the Quinn family will not be mounting an objection.

Sources stressed that the failure to mount an objection did not mean that the Quinns don't object to the deal -- rather it reflects their legal advice that they cannot mount an objection since they did not legally challenge the insurer's administration.

If the deal is approved by the High Court today, Quinn Insurance is expected to be imminently rebranded as Liberty Mutual Direct and a new management team drawn from Liberty's ranks could be unveiled as soon as this afternoon.

An approval from the courts would be a blow to recent calls from MEP Marian Harkin and Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghin O Caolain for the sale to be postponed so the sale process can be examined.

The deal before the courts today would see Anglo Irish Bank take a 49pc in the 'new' Quinn Insurance with US insurer Liberty taking the remaining 51pc. The new insurer will get €102m from Liberty and €98m from the 'old' Quinn.

A significant proportion of 'old' Quinn's claims, largely relating to UK commercial business, will be left in an administration vehicle which is likely to need as much as €720m from the Insurance Compensation Fund.

The new owners have stressed that they have no plans to cut jobs.

Irish Independent

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