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Guardian Trust sold to Australians

Friday 17th December 2010

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Guardian Trust is the latest of the Suncorp-owned companies in New Zealand to be sold.

Suncorp Group has announced it has entered into a conditional agreement to sell Guardian Trust to Australian independent trustee The Trust Company in a $42 million deal.

The sale is part of Suncorp Life's stated strategy of growing its core life and income protection business in New Zealand.

Guardian Trust is currently part of the New Zealand-based arm of Suncorp Life, which also manages specialist life businesses Asteron and AA Life.

Suncorp Life managing director Sean Carroll said Guardian Trust has been an important part of Suncorp Life New Zealand, and the decision to sell to a like-minded trustee parent company would allow both Suncorp Life New Zealand and Guardian Trust to continue to grow.

"Asteron and AA Life, Suncorp Life New Zealand's flagship brands, are specialists in life and income protection, while Guardian Trust is a trustee company," Carroll said.

"Asteron, AA Life and Guardian Trust are all strong performers and are well-placed to pursue growth in their respective markets, and it makes commercial sense to ensure that each is aligned with a parent company which specialises in its respective market."

"This has been a joint effort and we are all very pleased with the outcome."

Trust Company chief executive John Atkin said the Guardian Trust brand will remain and further investment towards future growth is planned.

"We are delighted to have reached agreement with the Suncorp Group to acquire Guardian Trust, which is widely regarded as the pre-eminent trustee company in New Zealand," Atkin said.

Guardian Trust managing director John Botica will continue in his role and hailed the deal as good news for all parties.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Guardian Trust and our customers, and one that we have achieved by working closely together with Suncorp Life and The Trust Company," Botica said.

The conditional sale and purchase agreement was signed today and the sale process is scheduled for completion by the first quarter of 2011.

Recently Suncorp sold its Tyndall Funds Management business to Nikko Asset Management.



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