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Portman to acquire Sun Bank Plc

Portman Building Society ("Portman") announces that it has reached agreement to acquire Sun Bank plc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sun Life of Canada, for a total cash consideration of approximately £95 million. As at 30 June 2001, Sun Bank had net assets of around £78 million.

Sun Bank is a profitable mortgage and savings bank employing over 180 people at its premises in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Sun Bank's activities include prime residential mortgage lending, buy-to-let mortgages and bespoke underwriting of complex mortgage requirements, together with retail savings. As at 30 June 2001 Sun Bank had a UK residential mortgage book of around £900 million and total assets of approximately £1.2 billion.

The Board believes that the acquisition of Sun Bank will complement Portman's existing high quality UK residential mortgage book of over £5 billion and will enable Portman to enter into new market segments under the Sun Bank brand.

Robert Sharpe, Portman's Chief Executive, said today: "As a successful and forward looking building society we are constantly seeking opportunities to grow our business, either organically or through acquisition, for the benefit of our members."

"The addition of an established, profitable and well managed bank operating with modern technology will add value to the Portman Group from day one. We intend to develop Sun Bank as a distinct organisation, retaining its own brand, premises and people."

"We are confident that Sun Bank will contribute strongly to the Portman Group's financial strength and this in turn will enable increased investment in products and services for the benefit of Portman's members."

The transaction is conditional on regulatory clearances and the issue of £60 million of subordinated debt under Portman's existing EMTN programme. It is expected that the transaction will be completed by 30 November 2001.

Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein acted as financial adviser to Portman for this transaction.

Note to Editors:

The consideration is subject to adjustment to reflect changes in Sun Bank's net assets prior to completion of the acquisition.

Portman is the fourth largest building society in the UK, with assets of approximately £7 billion. Based in Bournemouth, Dorset, Portman employs over 1,400 people and serves one and a half million customers through 114 branches in the south of England.

Sun Life of Canada is a leading international financial services organisation providing a diverse range of wealth accumulation and protection products and services to individuals and corporate customers. As of 30 June 2001, it had total assets under management of Cdn$326 billion.

SOURCE Portman Building Society

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