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LAHC could cut backers to gain buying freedom


The Life Assurance Holding Corporation is set to cut its number of backers


in a bid to boost its ability to make acquisitions.


LAHC was set up in 1994 to acquire life companies and manage their


portfolios as closed books and is rev iewing its current ownership


structure.


The company currently needs the approval of all its four main backers to


make a purchase.


LAHC is the brainchild of St James&#39s Place Capital and New York Life,


which each hold a 23 per cent shareholding. The other main shareholders are


Chase Investment Bank with 19 per cent and Prudential with 15 per cent.


LAHC&#39s first move was to acquire Windsor Life Assurance as the vehicle for


its operations. Last year, it bought GAN Life in a £300m deal which doubled


its funds under management to more than £5bn. It is also rumoured to be


bidding for Britannia Life.


Chief executive and Windsor Life chairman John Wybrew says: “LAHC is now


five years old. We agreed at the beginning there would be a review after


this time as some shareholders may wish to value their investment.


“By the end of the year, we should know whether there will be a change in


ownership, a change in the weighting of owners or no change at all.”


Analyst Ned Cazalet of Cazalet Financial Consulting says: “LAHC wants to


reorganise its shareholdings and Morgan Stanley was put on the case to look


into the situation. Having one dominant shareholder is probably the


preferred route.”

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