Kent Reliance Confirms Talks with JC Flowers

LONDON (Reuters) – Kent Reliance Building Society (KRB_p.L) confirmed on Monday it was in talks with U.S. private equity firm J.C. Flowers and Co on creating a joint-venture to bolster its balance sheet while remaining a mutual organisation.

Kent Reliance said the new structure would allow for substantial new capital investment to support the 150-year old building society, which is owned by its members.

Sources told Reuters on Sunday that J.C. Flowers, which previously tried to buy Britain’s stricken bank Northern Rock, would combine a 50 million pound ($75 million) investment with the assets of the British building society in a new vehicle.

The building society would retain control with a 51 percent stake, sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

Kent Reliance, which is the only building society based in the south-east England county of the same name, made a pretax profit of 2.26 million pounds in 2009 and had assets of 2.26 billion pounds at year-end.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Kate Holton)