CCV continues to make bold moves

Though it may not be the biggest, CCV’s latest acquisition is clearly its boldest yet.

The purchase of Wales’ largest independent broker, Protectagroup, not only sees the consolidator vehicle soar past the £200m GWP mark, but once again suggests that the broker has its sights set on larger targets. It also proves beyond any doubt than any business, no matter how independent it claims to be, has its price.

The move to buy Protectagroup not only sends a strong message to the market that CCV intends to become the dominant player in the Welsh market (one with considerable untapped potential), but proves that it will continue to buy businesses across the broking spectrum.

Clearly, the move will go some way to fulfilling Protectagroup’s target of growing its commercial lines portfolio to almost half of the business.

One thing that will not be happening is chief Paul Ragan’s plan to float the business. In May last year he commented, somewhat ironically: “In the next 10 months we have to execute something serious because if we don't, in reality, the timetable [for flotation] will be pushed back.”

Yet with the purpose of such an exercise fundamentally being to raise capital, selling the business to a consolidator with both money and the inclination to spend it is an entirely logical move. Having pledged - but failed - to make a number of acquisitions since it bought Hodge in the Autumn, Protectagroup's lofty goal to crack the top fifty brokers within three years may yet come good.

Certainly, CCV chief Tim Johnson is bullish in his estimates of growing Protectagroup's top line from £33m to £50m by the summer. And, of course, Johnson has targets of his own to meet: in this case, £350m by next year. With four further deals, he says, set to conclude in the coming weeks, this will not come as a surprise.

What might, however, is his claim that the company will not need to refinance in order to get there.