Phoenix hints at further takeovers after completing Axa Wealth and Abbey Life deals

Phoenix Group 480 Wythall office Birmingham
Phoenix Group’s offices in Wythall, Birmingham

Phoenix has hinted that it could make further acquisitions in the near future after successfully incorporating Axa Wealth’s pension and protection businesses and Abbey Life into the firm.

In the closed-book provider’s annual results today, Phoenix said that the Axa acquisition, which was first announced in May, had completed “ahead of expectations” on 1 November and cost £373m, £2m under the £375 quoted at the outset.

Phoenix also upped the amount is expects to cut costs through its acquisition of the Axa Wealth businesses – Embassy, Axa’s off-platform investment and pension division and Sun Life, its direct protection business – from £10m to between £13 and £15m.

The Abbey Life acquisition for £933m also completed on 30 December. Phoenix has turned the £250m in short-term acquisition funding pot for the deal into an enlarged £900m revolving credit facility.

Phoenix chief executive Clive Bannister said that the company now has “greater flexibility in financing future acquisitions” and expected more mergers to occur between UK life companies.

Bannister says: “The Group has safely incorporated our new customers from the AXA Wealth and Abbey Life businesses and is focused on delivering the planned cost and capital synergies. We are grateful for the support of our investors during 2016 and we believe there will be further consolidation in the UK life industry. We continue to explore opportunities as they arise.”