A new capital provider for two Duncanson Holt syndicates, 55 and 1308, has backed out at the last minute, writes Paddy Gourlay.

CGU was poised to make another push into Lloyd's by exploiting the opportunities thrown up by the abrupt withdrawal of US insurer UNUM Provident from the Duncanson & Holt managing agency.

Last week, the Marlborough agency, 51%-owned by CGU, was in talks with Duncanson & Holt with a view to amalgamating the two syndicates, but decided not to progress any further at close of play on Friday.

"There were talks to amalgamate the two syndicates 55 and 1308 and provide capacity," said Andy Ripley, DHSM managing director. "But at the last minute the decision was not carried through."

The surprise move by UNUM Provident had left Duncanson & Holt desperately seeking new capital for its four remaining syndicates – 55, 1101, 1308 and 1999 – or face the prospect of putting them into run-off.

Three syndicates will now to go into run-off; 1101 might still be saved.