Countrywide Assured has proposed the sale or demerger of its life assurance operations. It believes there is no longer any compelling reason for the life business to remain part of the group, as the capital requirements and investment propostions of the two businesses are entirely different.
It says that since it substantially closed the life business to new business in August 2002 it has been approached by a number of interested parties. It will make a choice between a demerger or a sale once it determines which option will deliver the greatest value to Countrywide shareholders.
Chairman Christopher Sporborg says: “The board of Countrywide believes that the demerger or sale of the life business will help unlock the underlying value of the two companies for shareholders and create more understandable investment propositions. Since we entered into the distribution agreement with Friends Provident last year, there has been little logic in the life business being part of the same group as the residential estate agency and professional property services business. These proposals address this issue.”