Analysts said that AMP's decision to set up debt facilities worth around A$8bn heralded a purchase in Britain. They said that AMP was likely to target a mutual insurer such as NPI or Friends Provident, as most quoted companies would be too expensive. AMP already owns the UK life assurer Pearl Assurance and has a joint venture with Richard Branson' s Virgin Group.
A spokesman said AMP could also be interested in building societies and added that its London-based team was looking at a wide range of acquisition targets. Earlier this week the Australian group launched a A$3.01bn hostile takeover bid for general insurer GIO Australia Holdings.