Lightyear lines up Lloyd’s membership for its first UK acquisition

Lightyear Capital has acquired the UK operations of German insurance company Württembergische Versicherung, after ensuring the company could become a member of Lloyd’s of London.

US financial services buyout specialist Lightyear Capital has made its first UK acquisition, forming insurance company Antares from the British operations of German parent Württembergische Versicherung for $250 million.

Lightyear bought Antares after UK insurance market Lloyd’s of London allowed the company to become one of its syndicates. Antares will have £135 million ($270 million, €195 million) in equity to invest provided by Lightyear when it joins the market next year. In 2007, Lloyd’s stood behind 68 syndicates representing £16 billion of capacity. The syndicate’s equity will be managed by third party operator Chaucer Syndicates.

Chaucer and the vendor WürttVers, as well as US buyout firm Norwest Equity Partners and global investment adviser Hamilton Lane, will all take stakes in Antares.

Donald Marron, chairman and chief executive of Lightyear, said: “We’ve been working on setting up the syndicate with Lloyd’s for six months. The amount invested in the syndicate is all equity at the moment and with no leverage because we wanted our investment to be strong and highly rated.” Each syndicate is run independently although with guidelines from Lloyd’s, he said.

Lloyd’s registers its syndicates to do business in 120 countries worldwide. The insurance market also supports its syndicates with its A+ credit rating.

Lightyear Capital runs its European operations out of New York. Although a UK operation, Antares is based in Bermuda.