L&G plots £300m sale of home and contents insurance arm

(c) Sky News 2018: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/lg-plots-163300m-sale-of-home-and-contents-insurance-arm-11578686">L&G plots £300m sale of home and contents insurance arm</a>

Legal & General (LSE: LGEN.L - news) is plotting the sale of its general insurance operations in a move that could spur further consolidation in the UK market for home and contents cover.

Sky News has learnt that L&G's chief executive, Nigel Wilson, has called in investment bankers from Fenchurch Advisory Partners to oversee a sale of the business, three years after a previous attempt to offload it was abandoned.

An auction of Britain's sixth-largest general insurer, which trails the likes of Aviva (Other OTC: AIVAF - news) , Direct Line (Other OTC: DIISD - news) and RSA in its home market, could generate a price tag north of £300m, City sources said on Wednesday.

Potential buyers have already been alerted to the opportunity to acquire the L&G unit, they added.

As well as home and contents cover, the general insurance business also has a small presence in the pet market following its acquisition in October 2017 of Buddies Enterprises.

The L&G general insurance arm recorded a £37m operating profit in 2017, down 29% on the year before, a performance largely dictated by higher-than-expected non-weather-related household claims.

General insurance represents a tiny part of L&G's business, which has evolved under Mr Wilson's stewardship into a diversified group with a presence in sectors such as housebuilding, infrastructure, pensions risk transfer buyouts and urban regeneration.

It also has a vast asset management operation, Legal & General Investment Management, which is in the middle of a search to replace Mark Zinkula, its chief executive.

Mr Wilson, who took over at the helm of the group in 2012, has sought to re-engineer L&G as a financial services company focused on 'inclusive capitalism'.

He has since sold a number of divisions, overseeing strong growth in returns to shareholders.

L&G now has a market value of £13.6bn.

A spokesman for L&G declined to comment.