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FACING THE AXA; your money.

Byline: CLINTON MANNING

HUNDREDS of jobs will be lost if a pounds 2.75billion insurance takeover goes ahead.

Resolution yesterday confirmed it was close to buying a big chunk of Axa's UK life and pensions business which has four million customers.

The company, run by tycoon Clive Cowdery, plans to slash costs by merging the Axa business, which employs 2,000, with Friends Provident.

The deal would put Cowdery, who left school with just three O-levels, on the road to a second fortune.

He made an estimated pounds 130m from buying up "zombie" life assurance funds closed to new customers, stripping out and selling the lot to Pearl for pounds 5bn in 2007.

Resolution set alarm bells ringing by stating that the Axa deal would lead to significant cost savings, "in the areas of sales and marketing, overheads, operations and support costs".

Siobhan Endean, national officer for the Unite union, said it was a worrying development. She added: "Concerns centre on implications of the possible sale of this business for the job security, terms and conditions and pensions of the AXA workforce."

Unite is pressing for talks to try to safeguard the jobs, pay and pensions of its members if the takeover goes ahead.

Resolution is to ask invescosts tors for pounds 2bn to help pay for the deal which it hopes to conclude by September.

The Axa businesses up for sale have major offices in Bristol and Coventry and rake in about pounds 350m a year. They include several pension schemes such as Axa Sun Life and Sun Life Assurance Society as well as a major income protection business.

Axa, which is French-owned, insisted it was still committed to the UK where it employs around 15,000 workers.

The deal would not include Axa's general home and car insurance businesses in the UK or its PPP healthcare arm.

Number at Axa 2000
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 15, 2010
Words:313
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