Ireland sells Irish Life to Canada's Lifeco

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 19, 2013 14:31 hrs

Bailed-out Ireland says it is selling the country's largest insurance company, Irish Life, to Great-West Lifeco of Canada for €1.3 billion ($1.75 billion) in cash, a move to reduce its deficit and longer-term debts.

Tuesday's agreement caps a year of efforts by Ireland to sell the profitable business, which has 2,200 employees and assets of €37 billion ($50 billion). The government last year paid €1.3 billion to acquire the Irish Life unit as it nationalized and broke up its debt-crippled parent bank, Irish Life & Permanent.

The sale represents part of Ireland's agreement with EU-IMF creditors to reduce its deficits by 2015 to the eurozone limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product. Ireland now hopes to reduce this year's deficit to below 7.5 percent of GDP.

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