July 12, 2017 / 1:01 PM / a month ago

Insurer Markerstudy looks to raise money, does not rule out sale

LONDON, July 12 (Reuters) - Insurance group Markerstudy is looking at options to raise money for acquisitions but also would not totally rule out a sale after rejecting an offer for the company recently, its underwriting director said on Wednesday.

The motor, pet and commercial insurance firm, which has a valuation of around 450 million pounds ($578.66 million), hired Swiss bank Mirabaud a few months ago to advise it on boosting its capital position, Gary Humphreys told Reuters by phone.

"We think that with Brexit and Solvency II, there are some opportunities for acquisition going forward."

Humphreys said the firm would make a decision in the next few weeks about its strategy, which could include raising capital of at least 100 million pounds.

Markerstudy recently received an offer for the company from a private equity firm but was not pursuing that deal, Humphreys said. He declined to name the bidder.

"It's a bit like the old football analogy that no player is for sale unless someone offers more than expected," he said.

"We are not looking to exit the business at all but you can never say never, if someone makes a fantastic offer."

Humphreys, who together with chief executive Kevin Spencer owns the company, said new European Union solvency capital rules, known as Solvency II, were making it expensive for some smaller general insurers, likely leading to consolidation in the sector.

The firm, which has registered operations in Britain and Gibraltar and whose customers are in Britain, last week said it was considering moving its Malta-domiciled insurer, St Julians, to Gibraltar as a result of Brexit.

Markerstudy has pulled out of European markets in Ireland and Norway, Humphreys said, which previously accounted for around 5 percent of its business.

$1 = 0.7777 pounds Reporting by Carolyn Cohn. Editing by Jane Merriman

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