Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Irish Life back in private sector

Finance minister Michael Noonan said the deal gives taxpayers a full return on the bailout need to rescue Permanent TSB
Finance minister Michael Noonan said the deal gives taxpayers a full return on the bailout need to rescue Permanent TSB

Pensions and life assurance company Irish Life has been sold by the Government for 1.3 billion euro.

Canadian investment and insurance giant, Great-West Lifeco, bought the business after protracted negotiations delayed by the eurozone financial crisis.

Finance minister Michael Noonan said the deal gives taxpayers a full return on the bailout need to rescue Permanent TSB, the mortgage wing of the then Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P).

The state will get an additional dividend of 40 million euro as part of the deal.

"Today's deal is the first time during this crisis that a company in which we have invested has been returned fully to private ownership. This is a historic transaction and provides the Irish taxpayer with a full return on its investment in Irish Life," Mr Noonan said.

Under the deal Great-West Lifeco's Canada Life will be merged under the Irish Life brand.

Established in 1939, Irish Life is the largest life and pensions and investment management group in Ireland, with more than one million customers and 37 billion euro of assets under management. It employs 2,200 people in Ireland.

Allen Loney, president and chief executive of Great-West Lifeco, said the deal commits the company to Ireland, where Canada Life has operated since 1903.

"Customers of both companies will have continuity of their products and customer service," Mr Loney said.

He added: "There is a good culture fit."

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