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Aquiline seals £87m deal to buy troubled motor insurer Equity Red Star

18 Dec 2012

Financial services-focused buyout firm Aquiline Capital Partners has fought off competition from bidders including Edi Truell’s Tungsten Corp to buy troubled motor insurer Equity Red Star for £87m.

The company is part of Insurance Australia Group (IAG), which last week announced the sale of all its UK operations after completing a strategic review process announced in May.

Reports last month confirmed Tungsten Corp, the £500m listed bid vehicle of former Duke Street CEO Edmund Truell, and US-based Aquiline were vying for control of the business.

Equity Red Star, which operates in the Lloyd’s of London insurance market, has been hit hard by the increasing number of personal injury claims over the past few years.

As part of the sale agreement the existing pension fund liabilities will remain with IAG.

A separate deal has also been reached with a consortium led by the existing management team to buy commercial broking business Independent Commercial Brokers.

“We believe 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,” IAG managing director and CEO Mike Wilkins said in a statement.

“It also allows us to concentrate on our strategic priorities of accelerating profitable growth in our home territories of Australia and New Zealand, which in the 2012 financial year represented over 90 per cent of the group’s gross written premium (GWP), and on increasing our Asian footprint.”

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