After £3bn IPO pulled...

Phoenix tipped to join bidders ready to pounce on ReAssure

Standard Life house

Standard Life House, now home to Phoenix Group (pic: Terry Murden)


ReAssure, the zombie funds business chaired by former Scottish Widows chief Archie Kane, is expected to attract interest from rivals after pulling its planned £3 billion IPO last week.

It spurned an approach from Rothesay Life earlier this year and it is thought Phoenix Group, which last year acquired the life insurance business of Standard Life, also expressed an interest.

Reinsurance group Swiss Re last week suspended the £3 billion flotation of ReAssure which it owns which co-owns with Japan’s MS&AD Insurance Group, blaming weak investor demand.

Phoenix, a life fund consolidator, has recently returned to the FTSE 100. it specialises in running life insurance businesses that are not open to new customers and looks to buy those so-called closed books from other insurers who no longer wish to handle certain types of policy.

The purchase of assets from Axa and then Abbey Life from Deutsche Bank were major steps in the company’s development but it was 2018’s £3.3 billion of Standard Life Aberdeen’s life assurance operations that has catapulted it into the London Stock Exchange’s top index. It runs the business from the former Standard Life offices in Lothian Road, Edinburgh.

Chief executive Clive Bannister has stated that Phoenix is looking for further deals to bolster the company’s powerful cashflow, which underpins a dividend yield that exceeds 6% and forms a key part of the investment case for the company.

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