Shares in Goshawk fell 44% this week after Nikko Principal Investments scrapped takeover talks with the now Bermuda-based company.

Its shares had been trading steadily at 45.25p, before shedding 2p to close at 43.25p on 22 November after the UK private equity arm of the Japanese group, which had until that date to make an offer, walked away.

The reasons behind Nikko's change of heart were not disclosed, leading to speculation that the two parties could not agree the value of Goshawk's ongoing business, its tax losses, or the position of its reserves. Goshawk chairman Paul Spencer shed little more light on the situation, saying that the company would back its Rosemont Re marine and property reinsurance business for future growth. But the trading outlook for Goshawk seems less than positive. One analyst said that without takeover interest, shares were unlikely to trade above 40p.