Great-West Lifeco to buy Irish insurance company for $1.75B

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:47 AM ET

WINNIPEG — Great West Lifeco has made a $1.75-billion acquisition of Ireland's state-owned life insurance company.

Once the deal for Irish Life is approved, Great-West will pay another $53.6 million dividend to the Irish government.

The Winnipeg-based insurer already operates the largest Canadian-owned business in Ireland, Canada Life.

Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the deal will help end the country's financial crisis.

"Today's deal is the first time during this crisis that a company in which we have invested has been returned fully to private ownership. This is a historic transaction and provides the Irish taxpayer with a full return on its investment in Irish Life," Noonan said.

"The Irish economy is entering its third consecutive year of growth, our deficit is on a downward trajectory and we are beginning to attract the levels of investment required to create jobs and to make a full return to the markets.”

Irish Life manages about one million policies and employs 2,200 people.