Friends Provident reveals cost-cutting measures

| February 1, 2008 | 0 Comments

Friends Provident, Britain’s fourth largest life insurer, is to shed 600 jobs throughout its business in the UK as part of a strategic review.

Furthermore, the group is looking to offload 3 businesses worth a total of over £1 billion. They are F&C Asset Management, Lombard International and Pantheon Financial.

Friends has been in trouble since its £8.4 billion merger with Resolution collapsed last year. Resolution was eventually bought by Pearl.

F&C Asset Management is 53% owned by Friends and is expected to fetch £400 million. The sale of its Brussels-based wealth management group Lombard International could fetch up to £700 million. Pantheon is said to be worth ‘tens of millions of pounds’.

It was revealed last week that private equity group, JC Flowers, was building a secret stake in Friends Provident, indicating that the group could launch a £4 billion takeover bid for the insurer.

There has also been speculation that Swiss Reinsurance may join the auction for Friends Provident if there is a bid from JC Flowers.

Friends Provident said its new business rose by 8% last year to £7.66 billion, the majority of it coming in the UK.

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