Lloyd's insurer Alleghany Underwriting this week flatly denied rumours that it was up for sale by its US parent.

According to reports in the weekend press, the New York-listed Alleghany Corporation is looking for a buyer for its London-based subsidiary after reporting losses of $39m (£28m) in the fourth quarter of 2000. A price tag of around £20m was mentioned.

However, a spokeswoman for Alleghany in London, said: “It's not true. It's just a market rumour. Lloyd's is full of them.”

The US group, a diversified conglomerate with interests ranging from manufacturing to financial services, sold its asset management business to ABN Amro at the end of last year.

One of the names touted as showing an interest in Alleghany Underwriting is fellow Lloyd's insurer Cox.

Alleghany is the 12th largest managing agency at Lime Street, with a capacity equal to 2.5% of the total London Market.