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Lumley sale imminent

After a long wait, a buyer for Australasian insurer Lumley Group is expected towards the end of this month.

Wednesday, March 12th 2003, 12:06AM

by Sue Allen

The UK-based holding company of Lumley Group first indicated its intention to sell in November.

Although Lumley is still playing its cards close to its chest on the identity of interested parties, the idea of a management buyout, initially left open, has now been quashed.

Bids are now in and it is understood that things are running to timetable and an announcement towards the end of the month is likely.

Lumley New Zealand’s head of corporate and consumer Tony Whyte will not comment on the sale but says the company has continued growing and both the Australian and New Zealand companies are "quality assets".

"We had been approached over many years for opportunities to purchase and we had not acted on them. There was heightened interest over a number of years and when the assets became available, that interest has moved from an inquisitive to a substantive base."

In the year to June 2002, Lumley Group’s turnover was A$1 billion with trading profits up 22% on the previous year to A$47.7 million and a pre-tax return on equity of 21%.

Lumley’s core business in Australia and New Zealand is insurance and financial services, risk management and information technology services, general and life insurance underwriting, premium financing and insurance broking.

The company originally anticipated that the Lumley Group’s Australian and New Zealand businesses would be sold together and inclusive of the Lumley brand name.

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