Belfast Telegraph

Tycoon breaks his silence on Quinn sale

Tycoon Sean Quinn has broken his silence on the Quinn Insurance sale and confirmed for the first time that he and his family would be "happy to set aside all financial interest and all influence" in the insurer he founded.

The publicity-shy entrepreneur also admitted he had put Quinn Insurance's profits to "bad use" and said the insurer would thrive once it had removed the "investment risk" associated with his time at the helm.

The comments come as Mr Quinn's camp battles to convince Anglo Irish Bank to revisit pursuing a joint bid for Quinn Insurance Limited (QIL) with the Quinn family.

The company was founded by Co Fermanagh man Sean Quinn as part of the Quinn Group, which also includes property, hotels, and glass works.

The family believes the joint approach offers the best hope of preserving 1,500 jobs in QIL and thousands more in the wider Quinn Group spanning both sides of the border, as well as securing repayment of a €2.8bn (£2.3bn) debt owed by the Quinns to Anglo.

The plan has widespread local and political support, but Anglo is continuing to pursue a joint bid with US insurance giant Liberty Mutual, which the bank believes offers better value to the taxpayer.

The desire of the authorities to "de-Quinn" the insurance group is also believed to have weighed on Anglo's decision not to pursue an offer with the Quinn family.

Mr Quinn has confirmed for the first time that he and his family are "happy to set aside all financial interest and all influence in QIL" as part of any joint Anglo bid.

It is understood that a joint Quinn/Anglo plan would see QIL owned by the Quinn family for seven years, with all its profits being used towards repaying the €2.8bn owed to Anglo.

The insurance company would then be sold off to pay another chunk off the debt, while a number of the Quinn family's overseas assets would be sold to pay any amounts outstanding.

Mr Quinn stressed that before its descent into administration last April, QIL had enjoyed "the highest profit margins of any general insurer".