GLOBAL – Irish Life Investment Managers’ (ILIM) parent has been bought by Canada’s Great-West Lifeco, allowing Ireland’s government to recoup the full cost of last year’s €1.3bn bailout.

Ireland’s minister for finance Michael Noonan said the acquisition of Irish Life Group was “historic” for its role in repaying the state support granted to former owner Permanent TSB.

He said the deal was a “significant vote of confidence” in the country’s economy, and added: “[The] deal is the first time during this crisis that a company in which we have invested has been returned fully to private ownership.”

Great-West will pay €1.3bn for Irish Life Group, owner of ILIM, and said that the asset manager’s business was “complementary” to its own Setanta Asset Management. It added that integration would therefore occur quickly, following expected regulatory approval and completion of the deal by the end of June.

The Canadian firm said its own Canada Life Ireland would soon after be rebranded Irish Life Group and said the acquisition would allow “an even stronger base” for ILIM to continue.

The asset manager added in a statement: “The Setanta brand itself is widely recognised within the Canada Life and Setanta distribution network and will be maintained as part of the totality of ILIM’s proposition.”

“The transaction also provides Great-West Lifeco with access to ILIM’s indexation skills and capabilities and our experience in delivering investment solutions is highly valued,” ILIM said further, citing its liability driven investment, fixed income and multi-asset investment platforms.

Group chief executive Kevin Murphy thanked the government for its support since the bailout. “We are very conscious and appreciative of the strong support the company received from the government and from the minister for finance during a very difficult period for the Irish economy.

He added that he was “delighted” the state had recouped its investment in the company.