Phoenix agrees to sell Ark Life Assurance to Irish Life for £197m

Phoenix Group has announced that it has agreed to sell Ark Life Assurance Company to Irish Life Group for £197m.

As reported by our sister publication, European Pensions, Ark Life is a closed book business that manages heritage savings and protection products in Ireland, and was acquired by Phoenix as part of its ReAssure acquisition in 2020.

Irish Life already operates Ark Life’s policy administration and investment management through an outsourcing arrangement, with the deal therefore described as a “natural evolution” of the existing relationship that would simplify the operating model.

The agreed price represents 0.91x Solvency II Own Funds and is payable on completion, which is expected to be by early 2022, subject to regulatory and anti-trust approvals.

Phoenix stated that the deal was not expected to materially impact its solvency or long-term free cash positions, and it would help the firm simplify its European operations and accelerate the cash release from the business.

Phoenix Group plans to redeploy the capital into “higher return growth opportunities to drive incremental future cash generation”.

“Phoenix continues to progress a range of management actions to maximise shareholder value from its remaining European business, Standard Life International DAC, which provides strategic optionality to the group over the longer term,” the firm stated.

Ark Life contributed £1.8bn of assets under administration to Phoenix's Heritage division, as at 31 December 2020.

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