L&G rules out joining Equitable Life auction

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The Independent Online

David Prosser, chief executive of Legal & General, yesterday ruled the life insurer out of the bidding for Equitable Life, the mutual life and pensions group forced last week to put itself up for sale following a shock House of Lords ruling on pension rights.

David Prosser, chief executive of Legal & General, yesterday ruled the life insurer out of the bidding for Equitable Life, the mutual life and pensions group forced last week to put itself up for sale following a shock House of Lords ruling on pension rights.

As he unveiled a 19 per cent rise in operating profits before tax to £231m in the first half, Mr Prosser said: "Given that we are quite clear on our strategy, it was a relatively easy decision to take. We've already decided it won't fit. We are not a multi-brand operation and we could not fold Legal & General into the Equitable. It would not create any synergies."

Takeover speculation continues to swirl around L&G despite strong evidence that none of the continental insurers looking for an entry into the UK life business are ready to pay the kind of price needed to win the backing of the board.

Mr Prosser insisted that yesterday's figures showed that "there is all to play for" without departing from the company's strategy of pursuing organic growth. "We would not want to do anything to distort the formula. We think we know how to do this business and we will not deviate," he said.

Shares in L&G rose 4p to 167p. The figures were comfortably ahead of expectations.

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