Joint administrators say they have received between 40 and 50 expressions of interest in the insurer

The Quinn Group has raised the ‘for sale’ sign over its embattled insurance business after administrators were forced to cut 900 staff.

The Irish firm, founded by Sean Quinn, said it had “reluctantly come to the conclusion” that it should consider selling Quinn Insurance. It announced its decision moments before consultation started on a redundancy programme affecting staff across its Irish and UK business.

Quinn Group chief executive Liam McCaffrey said the company had decided not to prolong the situation.

“Since the appointment of provisional administrators on 30 March and the confirmation of their appointment on 15 April, the group board has been considering a number of options, but has now reluctantly concluded that in view of the funding required to meet the solvency requirements laid down by the Financial Regulator, the future of Quinn Insurance is probably best protected under new ownership.

“Accordingly, we will be working closely with the joint administrators to see if this objective can be achieved in as short a time as possible, with the hope that this will protect the maximum number of jobs.”

Since their appointment, the administrators have received between 40 and 50 expressions of interest in parts of the Quinn Insurance business, which will be sold debt-free. They are preparing an information memorandum to send to interested parties.

Firms in Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA are believed to be keen; moreover, the group’s recent admission is expected to create fresh interest.

It is believed that the group is keen to sell the insurance business as a whole, but any sale would have to be agreed by the administrators and the regulator.

The 900 redundancies – 37% of Quinn Insurance staff – will save the company an annual E30m (£25.8m). The first phase of 350 job losses will be completed by July, and the rest will follow in the next 12 months.

The Quinn Insurance office in Blanchardstown, Dublin, will be hardest hit with 301 redundancies. Other will follow at the Cavan office (226); Enniskillen (179); Navan (109); Manchester (48); Derrylin (27); London (six); and O’Connell Street, Dublin (four).