Resolution calls time on further takeover plans

Michael Bow
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LIFE insurance takeover firm Resolution yesterday shelved its ambitious acquisition and flotation plans as it said it would become a more “conventional” business.

The group, which was set up by Clive Cowdery to take over struggling firms and sell them on for a profit, said poor market conditions meant its original plan to buy firms and exit through an IPO would have to be canned.

Cowdery said there was “disappointment” Resolution couldn’t push on with plans to buy more firms.

“We’ve come to a view that it’s not in the best interest of shareholders to target an exit event in 2013 or 2014,” he said.

“I wish we could have a benign market and have the possibility of pulling off creative mergers where corporate activity is rewarded. But this is not a period when corporate activity is rewarded.”

The management shake-up will see Cowdery appointed to the board, with former FSA chief executive John Tiner stepping down over the next few months. “It makes sense to focus on other things I want to do in life,” Tiner said.

Resolution yesterday posted a pre-tax operating profit of £163m in the first six months of the year, down from £390m pounds a year earlier.

Markets backed the move yesterday, as its share price soared 8.7 per cent in the first 45 minutes of trading, eventually closing 2.9 per cent higher.

BarCap analysts said in a note: “It has, in effect, decided to behave like a ‘normal’ UK Life company.”