But chief executive rules out following traditional consolidator model

Brightside, the broking and financial services group, has posted strong results in the face of the recession, with profit before tax up 28% to £3.2m for the first half of 2009.

Revenue increased 39% to £21.7m, and EBITDA 27% to £4.7m for the same period. Customer numbers increased 31% to 94,000, and the group claimed all its operations were well positioned for growth in a hardening market.

Chief executive Paul Chase-Gardener commented: “We have managed growth despite the circumstances the market finds itself in.”

He added that the firm was particularly focused on online growth, and he expected it to develop further. He said that, as prices in the market fell, there might be more attractive opportunities for acquisitions. He ruled out following the traditional consolidation model, however.

“Consolidation is no longer the name of the game,” he said. “It will be a changed world in a year’s time.”

The chief executive’s review, released with the results, stated: “We are also better placed than most to take advantage of these more realistic asset values, having achieved almost all of our growth organically and without incurring any structural debt.

“Such debt as the group carries is for the purpose of providing premium finance capacity.

“The ongoing growth and success of Panacea Finance, our premium finance company, is testament to the business model. The group’s lack of structural debt means it is less exposed to the recent financial turbulence and, with current asset values now more realistic, we are seeing some interesting opportunities.”

The group launched a new life assurance product, eLife, last October, which sold 1,263 policies in the first half of the year. Chase-Gardener said that this side of the business had “significant growth potential”, highlighting an ambition to become the UK’s largest life assurance broker within three years.

In general insurance commercial lines, Brightside sold 56,073 commercial vehicle policies in the first half of this year, a 20% rise on the same period of 2008.