Oldest company in Britain to be bought up by Scottish Friendly


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The Independent Online

Britain’s oldest surviving registered company is set to be taken over after Marine & General Mutual, founded in 1852, agreed to be bought by Scottish Friendly.

The deal will double the assets under management at Scottish Friendly, which was founded in 1862 as the City of Glasgow Friendly Society.

Marine & General Mutual (M&GM) was founded as the UK Temperance and General Provident Association at a time when insurers penalised seamen who did not drink alcohol, on the grounds that water was dangerous and unsanitary. The firm offered sailors who abstained from alcohol lower insurance premiums.

M&GM, which holds the company registration number 00000006, closed to new business in 2013 and sold its administration and ongoing business to private equity firm TDR Capital. At that point its 15,000-plus members collected windfalls of some £600 each. It was not immediately clear whether yesterday’s takeover will trigger further windfalls for its 60,000 policyholders.

The deal needs court approval and the backing of both firms’ members. It will double Scottish Friendly’s funds under management to around £2bn.

Fiona McBain, the chief executive of Scottish Friendly, said: “We are particularly proud of having secured the opportunity to double in size. The takeover will give us additional economies of scale that can drive further efficiencies, and increased value to all of our policyholders.”