3 September 2001
NFU Mutual status still at risk
By FWi staff
DETERMINED bidders would not be put off by NFU Mutual hostility to a possible takeover which may lead to 25,000 payments to farmers, it is claimed.
The specialist rural insurer, which insures 400,000 farmers, insists that it would oppose a reported attempt to force it into a stock market listing.
The statement follows a Sunday Telegraph report that the 91-year-old company faces a 3bn demutualisation bid from a former director.
The plan by John Murray, an NFU Mutual former senior manager, could lead to windfalls of up to 25,000 each for thousands of farmers, the paper claimed.
A spokesman for NFU Mutual denied that the company had received an approach, saying that any such offer would be unwelcome.
NFU Mutual is committed to maintaining its mutual status, he added.
But a follow-up story in the Daily Mail on Monday (3 September), said: Determined bidders would not be put off by the societys hostility.
It added: Every organisation that has demutualised began by vowing not to.
NFU Mutual had about 850,000 policyholders and managed funds of 8.7bn at the end of last year, according to the Sunday Telegraph on 2 September.
But less than half of these are thought eligible for windfall payments because of steps taken by NFU Mutual two years ago to prevent carpetbagging, it added.
This means that any windfall payouts to farmers would be far higher than those made in other recent de-mutualisations, the Telegraph claimed.