DORSET employer LV= has confirmed it is in talks with a “number of parties” after reports the business could be sold.

Reports published over the weekend suggested the insurance, savings and retirement business, which employes people from across the county, was in discussions about a sale or merger.

Sky News reported that insurance and pensions giant Royal London was in detailed negotiations with LV=.

LV= completed the £1billion sale of its general insurance business to Allianz last year and staff of both businesses share its office sites at County Gates.

In a statement issued early yesterday morning, LV= said: “The Board of Liverpool Victoria Financial Services Limited (‘LV=’) notes the recent press speculation and confirms that as part of a previously announced Strategic Review it has been and remains in discussions with a number of parties regarding a potential transaction.

“Discussions are on-going and there can be no certainty that the discussions will result in any transaction being agreed or with whom.

“LV= continues to trade well having adapted effectively to the impact of Covid-19 with a strong capital coverage ratio in excess of 200 per cent.

“A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”

In June, LV= said it was considering a sale of the business as one of a “wide range” of options.

It said then: “LV=’s board is fully committed to maximising long term value for its members and is therefore assessing a wide range of strategic options following the disposal of the general insurance business to ensure that the remaining business continues to be operated in the best interests of all its members. Some but not all of these options may involve a transaction with a third party.

“No conclusions have yet been reached as to the most appropriate option to pursue and there can be no certainty that this review will result in any transaction being agreed or with whom.”

Earlier this year, LV= revealed a return to profit, after a wave of job cuts helped reduce costs by £3m.

Full year results for 2019 showed profit before tax from continuing operations reach £15million after a £90m loss the previous year.

LV= General Insurance, the business it sold to Allianz, saw profit fall 13 per cent to £93m in 2019, although income from premiums grew.

In May, LV= said it had paid out £2.5m in income protection and death claims related to Covid-19.

A sale of LV= would be likely to generate a windfall for its 1.1million members.

The company decided in 2019 to cease being a friendly society governed by the 19th century Friendly Societies Act, arguing that the system was “outdated” and restricted its opportunities for growth.

However, it remains a mutual society owned by members.