EU Ref only a pause on London M&A - FREE

EU Ref only a pause on London M&A - FREE

Despite a slowdown in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) this year, there is still more to come for the London re/insurance market, a panel of experts told today's Reactions London Market Conference.

“There has been something of a slowdown in the first six months of this year or so but there has been in the global market generally,” said Martin Membery, a partner at Sidley Austin.

Uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum has not helped the situation, the panel suggested, speaking today as the UK goes to the polls in its referendum on EU membership.

“There are a lot of processes underway, some is being driven by Solvency II as well. People are looking to move out of lines of business where they can’t justify the capital requirements,” said Membery.

He cited run-off as well as the life market as sources of M&A activity, in addition to the few remaining London-based re/insurers still potentially up for grabs.

Eamonn Flanagan, an analyst at Shore Capital, said: “One of the main reasons could justify its bid for Amlin at that price was the cost of its own capital back home ."

“The biggest reason, I think M&A will continue is the sheer amount of capital that is still floating around the market and, for the companies looking to buy that capital, it’s the sheer size of their egos,” he laughed.

Potential for a "Brexit" vote for the UK to leave the EU might also cause some exits in terms of leaving London to write business elsewhere, he suggested.

“It’s interesting that if there is a Brexit vote today you might see some insurance companies revisiting their strategies, either looking to come out of the UK or come out of Europe,” Flanagan said.

Bhaven Pathak, head of M&A at Sompo Canopius said he does not think leaving the EU would stop M&A in the London market.

“There will just be a period of uncertainty that will slow that activity down. I certainly don’t think it is over,” he said.

“Whilst you hear these days that it’s the worst soft market in decades…you are still seeing double digit ROEs and that is very attractive to foreign buyers and it is a well-regulated mature market so I think…if it is remain you might potentially see a surge in M&A activity as the uncertainty recedes,” Pathak added.

Latest Issue

July/August 2017

reactions-latest-issue  

In this month's Reactions

  • Brexit movers
  • Axis-Novae
  • Stephen Catlin's memoirs
  • London Market Awards

Click here to view this issue

 

Follow Us on Twitter @reactionsnet