2 Jun 2009

Tower eyes acquisitions

6:53 am on 2 June 2009

Insurer and fund manager Tower is eyeing potential acquisitions after effectively becoming debt free.

Earlier this year Tower raised $82 million to pay down debt and managing director Rob Flannagan says its debt gearing has dropped to 5% - well below the 40% ceiling it has with its banks.

Mr Flannagan says the global financial crisis has hurt international-based insurers, which may look to jettison some of its operations, while there are opportunities to pick up some uneconomic Kiwisaver operations.

However he is not naming names just yet.

Tower's underlying half year profit rose 5% to $20.4 million, as it sold more health and life insurance, raised premiums for general insurance, and aggressively cut costs, particularly in its investment arm.