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Anglo Irish is closing in on deal for Quinn

Marion Dakers
ANGLO Irish Bank has ramped up its efforts to buy beleaguered insurance group Quinn, by proposing to inject capital and buy out bondholders.

Anglo Irish, which was nationalised in January 2009, hopes to win approval from the Irish Financial Regulator with its proposals, following concerns over a publicly-owned bank owning an insurance company.

Under the plans, the Quinn Group would still own the insurer, but would give control of operations to a new board of independent directors, with Anglo Irish in control of all economic interests.

Quinn went into administration in March, but resumed taking on new UK customers in May after administrators gave permission.

Over 900 members of staff have applied for voluntary redundancy at the firm’s offices in both Northern and the Republic of Ireland.

The Quinn family, which owns the insurance firm, owes around €2.6bn (£2.2bn) to the bank.

Anglo is said to be preparing to write off €1bn of the debt, and could write off another €1bn if the insurer is sold.

Anglo Irish is under state guarantee for all its deposits until September 2010, which the government is seeking to extend with EU regulators.

It recently announced a €12.7bn (£11.4 bn) loss in the 15 months to 31 December, the worst ever loss for an Irish company.

A spokesperson for Anglo Irish declined to comment on the details of any possible deal.

Quinn Insurance also declined to comment.

FAST FACTS | QUINN INSURANCE

● Set up in 1996 by Sean Quinn and started offering insurance to UK customers in 2004.

● Sells home, health and car insurance, with a turnover of €2.1bn in 2007.

● Went into administration on 30 March.