Resolution's hunt for deals gathers pace

RESOLUTION, the insurance-focused takeover vehicle owned by entrepreneur Clive Cowdery, says it is still hungry for acquisitions, boosting shares in possible target Legal &amp; General.<br /><br />Resolution reiterated its aim to buy two more major insurers within 15 months following its takeover of Friends Provident, saying upcoming regulatory changes made consolidation &ldquo;both desirable and inevitable&rdquo; in the sector.<br /><br />Chief executive John Tiner said noises from European regulators this week that they are considering easing proposed capital restrictions on insurers would not alter the company&rsquo;s plans. <br /><br />In their current form, the so-called Solvency II rules could cost British insurers &pound;50bn but it appears that the European Union will bow to pressure to water down capital requirements to strengthen insurance balance sheets.<br /><br />Tiner said: &ldquo;There&rsquo;s still a lot of work to do before we find out where we end up.&rdquo;<br /><br />Given the timetable of most takeovers, the City expects at least one bid by Resolution to be made within three months.<br /><br />Most speculation has focused on insurance businesses owned by Royal Bank of Scotland and L&amp;G, whose shares jumped 25 per cent last month on initial takeover talk.<br /><br />Yesterday L&amp;G rose 2.45p to 87.95p. Resolution, which spent &pound;1.8bn taking over Friends Provident, raised &pound;600m when it floated, leaving it with &pound;310m in cash to spend buying up rivals.<br /><br />Updating the market on the first nine months of 2009, Friends Provident said its new life and pensions business sales slumped 28 per cent to &pound;505m.