IAG sells unprofitable British operations to buyout firm, managers

Insurance Australia Group, whose ASX-listed shares have surged 63 percent this year, is selling its unprofitable UK operations, taking a loss of about $240 million on them in the 2013 year.

The Sydney-based insurer, which runs the NZI, State and AMI insurance bands in New Zealand, will sell its Equity Red Star motor insurance business in the UK to buyout firm Aquiline Capital Partners for £87 million.

The sale will settle in the second half of this financial year, with IAG agreeing to retain existing pension fund liabilities.

IAG is also in talks to sell its Independent Commercial Brokers business in the UK to a group of the existing managers, with details yet to be finalised.

"The sale option delivers the best available outcome for IAG shareholders, particularly in light of the continuing challenging economic and industry conditions in the UK market," chief executive Mike Wilkins says in a statement.

The shares last traded at $A4.81 on the ASX, valuing the company at $A10.1 billion, which is below its enterprise value of $A11.2 billion, according to Reuters data.

The stock is rated "outperform" based on the consensus of 15 analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a price target of $A4.50.

Mr Wilkins says IAG reviewed all possible options for maintaining the operations in Britain, including a move to focus more on vehicle insurance.

Exiting the UK will allow the company to focus on it key markets of Australia and New Zealand, while targeting growth in Asia so that the region represents 10 percent of gross written premium by 2016, he says.

The UK operations contributed to a 17 percent drop in IAG's profit for the year ended June 30, when their value was written down by $297 million. The UK businesses posted a loss of $13 million.

(BusinessDesk)

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about My Tags

Comment & Question

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

Post New comment or question

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7869 -0.0096 -1.21%
AUD 0.8976 -0.0104 -1.15%
EUR 0.6223 -0.0042 -0.67%
GBP 0.4905 -0.0038 -0.77%
HKD 6.1053 -0.0728 -1.18%
JPY 84.3500 -0.8890 -1.04%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1241.1 -7.450 2014-10-22T00:
Oil Brent 84.7 -1.510 2014-10-22T00:
Oil Nymex 80.5 -1.970 2014-10-22T00:
Silver Index 17.2 -0.310 2014-10-22T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5279.7 5293.7 5279.7 0.26%
NASDAQ 4429.2 4435.9 4419.5 -0.83%
DAX 8934.5 8957.2 8887.0 0.60%
DJI 16615.3 16653.9 16614.8 -0.92%
FTSE 6372.3 6401.5 6372.3 0.43%
HKSE 23300.5 23460.8 23088.6 1.37%
NI225 15038.2 15195.8 14804.3 2.64%