Quinn takes some responsibility but says regulator's decision was 'worst in Irish corporate history'
Sean Quinn has spoken publicly for the first time about his company’s plight, warning that the business is “losing an absolute fortune”.
Quinn told the Irish broadcaster RTÉ that the insurance arm was struggling, with revenues dropping by as much as 80%.
He said: “It made about €20m in the month of March; in April, I don’t know how much it is going to lose, but it is going to lose an absolute fortune. We’ll be 75%-80% down on turnover … so of course it has to lose money. I can make money in the Quinn Group and my co-directors can make money in the Quinn Group, but an administrator will not make money in our group.”
Quinn admitted that the regulator was “technically right” in his view that the insurance firm didn’t meet solvency requirements, but said that the decision was the “worst in Irish corporate history”.
However, Quinn seemed to accept blame for his disastrous decision to buy shares in Anglo Irish Bank, using borrowed money for much of the purchase. “We were too greedy. We shouldn’t have bought the shares and we shouldn’t have exposed the company. I wouldn’t be blaming anybody, only myself. I’m not saying I didn’t take any advice, I’m saying it was my idea to buy the shares.”
In Ireland, Aviva said it had signed up 5,000 health insurance customers – “considerably above average” – with about 60% of those coming from Quinn.
But Quinn claimed it had “not seen any shift in customer loyalty”, and that the retention rate of customers was similar to pre-administration levels.