Northern Ireland

Quinn Insurance takeover confirmed and 'jobs safe'

The joint administrators of Quinn Insurance have said all jobs, north and south of the border, will be retained.

Quinn Insurance business is being sold to a new company backed by US insurer Liberty Mutual and Anglo Irish Bank, it has been confirmed.

It is expected that Liberty Mutual will eventually take full control of the business. Quinn Insurance has been in administration since March 2010.

The firm employs 1,570 staff in Fermanagh, Cavan and Dublin.

The administrators said the company lost over 700m euros (£629m) in 2009 - the year before they were appointed.

Liberty will inject 102m euros (£91m) and Anglo will put in 98m euros (£87m) to recapitalise the new company, which will be known as Liberty Mutual Direct Insurance.

At a press conference on Thursday, administrator, Paul McCann said both he, and his colleague, Michael McAteer believed the "deal represents the best outcome for the Irish economy" and followed a "comprehensive bidding process".

"Importantly all the jobs are preserved in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland," he said.

Mr McCann said the takeover would maintain competition in the Irish insurance market place and ensure the continuation of value for money and service delivery for customers.

"It is very much business as usual for our customers," he said.

"Myself and Mick would just like to say its been a long process, a very thorough process but we're delighted that Liberty Mutual is taking the business forward, preserving the business, preserving the jobs and maintaining the business going forward."

Protest

Earlier on Thursday, a second protest at the headquarters of the Quinn Group in Derrylin in County Fermanagh was held.

Several hundred people gathered at the site on Thursday morning to protest over new management at the firm.

Some of them met with middle managers and afterwards said it had been very worthwhile and informative.

They added it was heartening to see local faces who were absolutely committed to the future of the group.

However the demonstrators again called for the original Quinn management to be re-instated.

It is the second protest this week over Anglo Irish Bank's decision to appoint an administrator to take control of the Quinn family shares.

A new management team has also been appointed, angering local people who praise Sean Quinn for creating jobs and remain loyal to him.

In response to questions from employees, management said on the company's website that no jobs would be lost as a result of the appointment of the share receiver (who took control of the Quinn Family's shares).

"In the longer term job security, as in any business, can be assured only by the continuing success of the businesses," it added.

BBC Northern Ireland's Julian Fowler, reporting from the scene, said the demonstration was smaller and the atmosphere more subdued than the protest on Tuesday.

Mr Quinn and his family owe Anglo-Irish Bank £2.5bn, a sum the bank's chief executive described as "enormous" and said they were unable to repay.

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