£465m takeover of insurance company

PUBLISHED: 17:18 19 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 06 May 2010

PLANS for a £465m takeover of one of Hitchin s largest employers were announced last week. Swiss Re, the world s largest reinsuring company, has agreed a deal to acquire retirement specialist GE Life which is currently based at The Priory in Hitchin and e

PLANS for a £465m takeover of one of Hitchin's largest employers were announced last week.

Swiss Re, the world's largest reinsuring company, has agreed a deal to acquire retirement specialist GE Life which is currently based at The Priory in Hitchin and employs around 540 members of staff.

It is thought that the takeover could be completed by the end of the year but it will have to be approved by the Financial Services Authority, the UK financial services regulator.

Swiss Re, whose headquarters is in Zurich, already has a UK office in Telford, Shropshire, and the company has moved swiftly to calm fears about the future of the Hitchin site by saying it is not bound solely to one particular site.

Tim Dickenson, UK head of communications for Swiss Re, said: "We are not tied to a single-site strategy for our UK Admin Re [the company's title given to its acquisition of other life insurance companies] operations and are impressed by the skilled and experienced team based at Hitchin.

"We are confident of further growth opportunities for Swiss Re's Admin Re business going forward, requiring a continued strong presence at Hitchin into the longer-term.

"There is no plan to make immediate redundancies, but Swiss Re will review the operational needs of the business over the time ahead to determine where efficiencies may be feasible across the combined entities [the existing operation in Telford and GE Life in Hitchin].


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