Sweden's SEB Life buys Irish Life International for €26m


IRISH LIFE International, a subsidiary of Irish Life & Permanent, has been sold to Swedish company SEB Life for €26 million.

The combined entity will have approximately €5 billion in assets under management.

Irish Life International’s 70 to 80 employees will be retained by the Swedish company, both companies said yesterday.

A spokesman for Irish Life said the sale was in line with Irish Life Permanent’s focus on the Irish market.

Irish Life International sells offshore life and investment products to international investors. It had assets of €2 billion under management in 2010 and premium income of €370 million. The subsidiary posted after-tax profits of €1.1 million in 2009.

Discussions between SEB Life and Irish Life International have been taking place for almost a year and have been subject to approval by the Financial Regulator. The proceeds from the sale will be used to meet the capital requirements of Irish Life Permanent, the company said.

SEB Life Ireland, a subsidiary of Swedish financial company SEB Group, has been operating in Ireland since 1996. It employs 35 people, 28 of whom work at its Fitzwilliam Square offices. It is believed new office space will be sourced to facilitate the merged entity.

A spokesman for SEB Life said the acquisition of Irish Life International will allow the company to strengthen its footprint in Europe, and will complement SEB Life’s existing cross-border businesses, which focus on Sweden, Denmark and Luxembourg. “Irish Life International already has a strong market presence in Finland, as well as in Italy, Spain and Belgium. The merger will allow us to broaden our presence in Europe.”

SEB Life Ireland has €3 billion in assets under management and attracts just under €400 million in premium income annually. Its profits stand at about €120-€130 million annually.

Meanwhile, Irish Life & Permanent is expected to be named as preferred bidder for AIB Investment Managers as early as next week. It is estimated the business has a price tag of between €20 million and €25 million.