Anglo Irish, Liberty Mutual Move on Insurer; Quinn Family Ousted

Liberty Mutual Group Inc. and Anglo Irish Bank Corp. may take over Quinn Insurance Ltd. as the lender ousted Sean Quinn and his family from an empire that spanned real estate to financial services.

If the country’s regulator approves, Boston-based Liberty Mutual would take a majority stake and Anglo Irish a minority holding in Quinn Insurance, the country’s central bank said in a statement today. Anglo Irish also took control of the equity interest of the Quinn Group (ROI) Ltd., parent of a company whose interests include the Belfry golf club in the U.K.

“The bank is owed an enormous amount of money by Sean Quinn and his family, which they are not in a position to pay,” Anglo Irish Chief Executive Officer Mike Aynsley said in a statement.

The Quinns owe 2.8 billion euros ($4 billion) to Anglo Irish, the company said in a Jan. 11 statement. Once ranked by the Sunday Times as Ireland’s richest man, Sean Quinn and his family no longer have any role in the management, operations or ownership of the company, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said in a statement today.

A spokesman for the family declined to comment. Matthew Elderfield, Ireland’s head of financial regulation, installed administrators last year after Quinn Insurance posted a loss of 788 million euros for 2009.

Quinn Group Chairman Pat O’Neill said the company has reached a form of restructuring that “will permanently relieve” the company’s manufacturing of more than 500 million euros of debt. In a statement, he said the move was necessary for the survival of the company.

Anglo Irish’s Aynsley said the lender has reached an agreement in principal on a five-year debt restructuring plan with Quinn Group (ROI) Ltd. bondholders owed 1.28 billion euros by the cement-to-insurance group.

“The appointment of a share receiver to the Quinn family’s equity interest will have no impact on the day-to-day running of the businesses and there are absolutely no planned redundancies or expected job losses,” said Aynsley in a phone interview. “The bank will not assume any management role.”

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