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US insurance giant Liberty Mutual interested in buying Quinn insurance

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One of the largest insurance companies in the US is interested in buying troubled Irish company Quinn insurance.

Liberty Mutual is seeking to expand its European operations and they have contacted Quinn's administrators in a bid to purchase the company.

Liberty Mutual is the fifth largest insurer in the US, and the insurer has an Irish office in the International Financial Services Centre in Dublin and has a small presence in Britain.

Liberty has a proven track record of taking over troubled insurance companies and restructuring and managing them successfully.

A spokesperson for the US insurer said it had contacted the administrators of Quinn insurance and had expressed an interest in purchasing the company.

Quinn is seeking 902 redundancies from it's 2,450 strong workforce, Liberty may minimize job losses.

Quinn's administrators, Michael McAteer and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton accountants, have revealed that 40 parties have expressed an interest in purchasing Quinn insurance. The interested parties include Anglo Irish Bank and several large private equity firms.

The administrators will circulate an information memorandum to the interested parties next month.

The administrators have also stated that a sale was not their priority "at this time," but have advised the owner of Quinn insurance, the Quinn Group, that any sale should be made jointly.

The administrators plan to appoint a global merchant bank over the coming weeks to manage the sale of the business.

Liberty Mutual made a profit of $315 million in the first quarter of this year.

A source within the Liberty company said a takeover of Quinn would be "transformational" for their business.

A review by Quinn's administrators found that Quinn had under provided for liabilities by $80 million. The company also made a loss of $60 million in 2009.

The Quinn Group has debts of $1.5 billion, and the money made from the sale of Quinn Insurance will go to the repayment and restructuring of the Quinn Group debt.

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