Britannic Group, which offers multiple financial services through its Britannic Assurance, Britanic ...
Britannic Group, which offers multiple financial services through its Britannic Assurance, Britanic Asset Management, Britannic Retirement Solutions and Britannic Money businesses, is being forced by economic circumstances to look for a partner or even an outright sale in order to remain a going entity.
The comment comes from finance director Bryan Portman following the company's release today of preliminary results for the year ended 31 December.
"The bottom line is that we need to achieve scale," Portman says.
That scale is needed to keep Britannic alive as a viable player in an industry that has been severely depressed by two years of decreasing returns from equity investments.
Britannic's statement accompanying its results today says: "the markets in which we operate are changing rapidly and we believe our businesses need greater scale in order to exploit opportunities to the full. Consequently we are alert to appropriate opportunities to achieve the necessary scale for the group."
The company has been hit by a £43.8m exceptional charge in its accounts, turning a pre-tax profit of £64.4m in 2000 into a pre-tax loss of £223.3m during 2001.
New premiums written were down by nearly £90m on the previous year, to £1,005.6m.
Since the results were released this morning speculation has centred on a bid from Royal London, given its acquisition spree during the past two years that saw it scoop up Scottish Life and United Assurance.
Other options might include selling off the less well-performing parts of the group, such as Britannic Money, which is not forecast to break even until 2003.
The bid speculation has driven Britannic shares up 16p to 670p today.
Bryan Portman adds that the company is also looking "for new intermediary channels".
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