Take over bid at Eagle Insurance
By Duruthu Edirimuni
UK-based Aviva, the world's sixth largest insurance group, and the JKH-Carsons combine are competing in a takeover bid at Eagle Insurance, brokers said.

John Keells Holdings Ltd and Carson Cumberbatch (Carsons) said last week they have made a joint offer to acquire the entire 87.27% stake in Eagle owned by NDB Finance Lanka (Private) Ltd (NFL) and merge Eagle with Union Assurance (UAL).

Brokers said Aviva had also made an offer and are carrying out the due diligence at present. They said NDB wants to sell Eagle to make a capital gain, because it is a cash cow and at the same time reduce forays by the Schaffter family who are after this stake at NDB. When Zurich sold Eagle to NDB two years ago, JKH also made a bid for it. If the merger between Eagle and UAL succeeds, it would be third largest player in the life insurance market after Sri Lanka Insurance and Ceylinco.

A JKH statement said the group and Carsons are willing to acquire a minimum stake of 15.3 million shares amounting to 51% of Eagle. Subsequent to the purchase of the shares from NFL, JKH and Carsons will make a mandatory offer to all the shareholders of Eagle as required by the Takeovers and Mergers Code, the statement said.

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