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GFI sells majority stake in Genworth, board members depart

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Genworth Financial Inc (GFI) has sold its 52% stake in Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia and no longer owns any shares in the company.

NYSE-listed GFI, which is preparing for a partial IPO of its US mortgage insurance business, sold around 214 million Genworth shares on the Australian Stock Exchange at $2.28 a share. GFI had listed Genworth in 2014.

“This transaction will help enhance our holding company liquidity ahead of our near-term obligations, including our debt due in September 2021 and upcoming AXA liabilities due in 2022," GFI President and CEO Tom McInerney said.

As a result of GFI’s departure from the share register, Rajinder Singh and Stuart Take have resigned as Genworth board members.

Commercial agreements between Genworth and GFI will cease in 90 days and a number of other commercial agreements will also terminate, including a Trademark Licence Agreement, IT Services Agreement and Shared Services Agreement.

“Genworth has prepared a disengagement plan in respect of the services provided under these agreements and will be putting in place alternative arrangements,” a company statement said.

Genworth CEO and MD Pauline Blight-Johnston says management is pleased with interest in the share sale and welcome new institutional investors.

Genworth’s earnings took a hit last year from delinquency reserving of $109.1 million and a large $181.8 million writedown, sending it to a full-year underwriting loss of $234 million.

The company has warned of “sustained pressure on claims throughout 2021,” as assistance such as JobKeeper and mortgage deferrals granted by lenders taper off, leaving many homebuyers exposed and poised to make Lender Mortgage Insurance (LMI) claims.