QUINN Insurance has finally bowed to the Financial Regulator’s demand to have its insurance arm, which employs 2,800 people, placed into permanent administration in a move heralded as a fresh start in Irish corporate governance.
A hastily arranged High Court sitting in Dublin was told the Quinn Group would permit the firm to be run by two outside managers, with the aim of protecting jobs and putting it back on a sure footing.
Industry representatives welcomed the move and the fact that the regulator had finally been able to assert his authority in the case of the troubled company.
President of the Irish Brokers’ Association Paul Carty said the fact that the company had finally accepted the “inevitability of administration” was welcome.
The move piles further pressure on group founder Sean Quinn and his family, who are facing a €4 billion mountain of debt, of which €2.8bn is owed to the state- owned Anglo Irish Bank.
In the past week Anglo has been trying to do a deal to acquire control of the entire Quinn empire with a cash injection of €700m, a deal which now looks highly unlikely.
The regulator, Matthew Elderfield, last night said the High Court’s decision to confirm the appointment of two full-time administrators was “in the best interests of policyholders”.
Chairman of Quinn Insurance Jim Quigley said: “This decision has been taken after very careful consideration.
“Given what has happened, it is in the best interests of the company, our employees and policyholders that we work closely with the administrators and the Financial Regulator to get the situation resolved as quickly as possible.”
Kevin Lunney, operations director of the group, said he expected the administrators to act “in the best interest of all concerned”.
Quinn employees also welcomed the move as being in the best interests of all involved.
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