Blackstone, GIC lead buyout of Goldman's Rothesay Life stake

LONDON (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs has sold its remaining stake in British pensions insurance business Rothesay Life to a trio of existing investors a decade after setting up the company.

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Goldman Sachs stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, U.S. on July 16, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Blackstone Group, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC have agreed to buy out Goldman’s 32.7 percent stake for an undisclosed sum.

“We look forward with confidence to taking advantage of the considerable growth opportunities we see in the sector,” Rothesay Chief Executive Addy Loudiadis said.

Demand from companies to offload the risks associated with their pension scheme liabilities has grown in recent years, with insurers Legal & General and Aviva looking to cash in.

L&G on Wednesday said it had written 1.6 billion pounds ($2.08 billion) in so-called ‘bulk annuities’ in the first half of 2017, up from 685 million a year earlier.

GIC and Blackstone will become Rothesay’s biggest shareholders and MassMutual will “substantially” increase its stake, Rothesay said. It did not say how big their investments would be.

GIC and Blackstone previously had each owned 26.5 percent of the company while MassMutual held 6.5 percent.

Specialist pensions liabilities insurer Rothesay’s clients include the pensions schemes of British Airways, Holiday Inn-owner InterContinental Hotels Group and bingo hall operator Rank.

It was founded in 2007 by Goldman and had assets under management of 23.7 billion pounds as of the end of 2016.

Last year, new business volumes grew by 89 percent to 6.6 billion pounds while its pretax profit fell to 328 million pounds from 347 million.

A spokesman for the company said its 2016 results gave it an embedded value, the present value of the company’s future profits plus the adjusted current value of its assets, of about 2.2 billion pounds.

Reporting by Ben Martin; editing by Simon Jessop and Jason Neely