British life insurer Phoenix
remains in talks with private equity firm CVC Capital Partners over a possible takeover of the company, prolonging discussions which began last November but which have been hampered by debt issues.

Phoenix added in a statement on Monday that it would provide a further update on the situation no later than 28 days from now.

Phoenix, formerly known as Pearl, has been hampered by a heavy debt burden taken on to finance the 5 billion pound acquisition in 2007 of a portfolio of closed life funds put together by Resolution's founder, Clive Cowdery.

Last year, rival insurer Resolution made a failed bid approach for the company, leaving CVC as Phoenix's main suitor.

CVC's move for Phoenix comes amid increased private equity interest in the sector, with Cinven having paid 275 million pounds for Aegon's Guardian Life unit in August.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)