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Lombard to become kiwi shell for Aussie insurer

Lombard Group, the owner of Lombard Finance which owes 4,400 investors some $127 million, will become a shell company for Perth-based insurer Australian Consolidated Insurance.

Monday, July 6th 2009, 9:43AM

by Paul McBeth

The companies have entered a conditional arrangement where ACIL will own 90% of Lombard, which is listed on the New Zealand stock exchange. The reverse takeover is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, and the mortgage book for Lombard will be put into a special purpose subsidiary which will take responsibility for any outstanding liabilities.

Lombard faces suspension from the NZX if it fails to provide its annual report by next Tuesday after missing the June 30 deadline.

ACIL is an insurance and underwriting agency that manages some $102 million of insurance premiums from offices in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Auckland and Hamilton, and is unlisted in Austrlaia. It recently acquired Hamilton-based underwriter Classic Car Insurance.

Lombard said shareholders will have the opportunity to buy into the new venture at a price per share equal to the value of existing shares relative to ACIL's final holding.

"We have a lot of work to do to provide Lombard shareholders with the information they need to consider this proposal and every step possible will be taken to ensure that shareholders understand what is proposed and that all shareholders are treated fairly," said Lombard chief executive Michael Reeves in a statement.

Paul is a staff writer for Good Returns based in Wellington.

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