Sean Quinn says BUPA deal will provide an opportunity for "real competition in the Irish health insurance market"...

Quinn Group has announced that it is to buy BUPA Ireland Ltd. While no details have been released it is expected that the deal will take a number of weeks to put in place.

Quinn Group chairman, Sean Quinn, said that the move was significant for the group. "We believe our agreement with BUPA presents an opportunity for real competition in the Irish Health Insurance Market. In all of our businesses, we operate in an open and competitive environment and we trust that the report of the review group established by the Minister for Health, Mary Harney TD, and other initiatives, will lead to a more open and competitive landscape in this market."

"Our announcement of a price freeze in 2007 demonstrates our commitment to delivering value to health consumers in the Irish market over the longer term. BUPA Ireland are a fine organisation who've brought innovation and choice to Irish consumers and we look forward to working with the team in Fermoy to grow the business."

BUPA Managing Director, Fergus Kee, said: "Our priority since the announcement that we were withdrawing from the market has been to secure the best alternative arrangement for our staff and customers. We tried until as recently as last week to achieve a compromise with Government that would have allowed us to stay. This was not possible. We believe the transfer of the business to the Quinn Group to be the next best alternative."

As a new health insurer, Quinn Group will be exempt from Risk Equalisation payments for three years. The Quinn Group will continue to honour BUPA Ireland's commitment to community rating and members will enjoy the same products and continuity of value and service from Fermoy.