Investors voice frustration at lack of progress

Omega shareholders have hinted that they are looking for board changes at Omega after the Lloyd’s insurer failed to find a buyer.

Bermudian investment firm Haverford, which came closest to completing a deal, pulled out of talks to buy 25% of Omega on 21 December.

Omega received interest from a number of suitors, including Lloyd’s insurers Novae, Canopius and Barbican. However, Novae pulled out of talks, and Omega rejected the Canopius and Barbican offers in favour of Haverford’s.

Canopius first made its attention to buy Omega known at the Monte Carlo Rendez-Vous conference in September 2010.

The Telegraph quoted one of Canopius’s top 10 investors as saying that none of the deals received since September 2010 had gained serious attention from Omega’s board and that an overhaul of senior personnel was “urgently needed”.

Another investor told the paper that there was a lot of frustration among investors and time was running out for the board.

Haverford overhauled its board in March 2010 at shareholders’ behest. It appointed John Coldman as its new chairman, and replaced chief executive Richard Tolliday with Richard Pexton.

Haverford had initially sought to buy 25% of Omega for up to 83p a share in a tender offer. While the maximum 83p strike price was reached at the tender deadline, Haverford contended that the deal had not met certain conditions and had lapsed. The investment firm also raised concerns about Omega’s financial performance.

Haverford offered a new fixed price of 74p a share on 15 December, but talks broke down six days later.

In its third-quarter interim management statement, Omega revealed that its previously reported catastrophe losses had deteriorated by $6m (£3.9m) and that it had incurred $19m in additional losses.