A top level review of Clerical Medical International's future has been further complicated by the announcement that the parent company is to be taken over by Halifax, Britain's biggest building society. The review, Countdown to 2001, will scrutinise all aspects of the company's operations, including the Hong Kong division. Halifax has announced it will pay GBP800 million, a GBP730 million contribution to the with-profit fund and GBP70 million towards shareholders capital, for Clerical Medical businesses. Subject to members' approval, the deal is expected to be settled by the end of the year. Hong Kong regional director David Mackenzie said: 'My understanding is that the group will maintain its identity.' The company is in the midst of a worldwide review to ensure that it is focusing on those markets with the brightest prospects. Mr Mackenzie was confident the study would not recommend the closure of the territory branch. Under the planned merger, Clerical Medical's management team, administration centres and sales operations are to be retained and supported. While there had been widespread speculation that the parent company, Clerical Medical Group, was for sale, the most likely successful suitor had been widely tipped to be National Westminster Bank.