Intermediary buys seven brokers and launches a specialist taxi unit

Budget has continued its rapid growth strategy with seven broker deals and the opening of a specialist taxi unit.Over the last three months the intermediary purchased two brokers, R&P Insurance Services in Wakefield and Stradbroke Insurance in Ilford, and five personal lines books.Budget Retail managing director Matthew Donaldson said: "We have now concluded 27 acquisitions during the past year, and fully expect to exceed that over the next 12 months."There is no doubt that, since the beginning of the year, interest in selling among independent brokers has certainly been on the increase."The broker also announced plans to target niche markets, with the opening of a specialist taxi unit. The business, based in Warrington, will operate through a CDL wide-area network offering a direct and local face-to-face service though the branch network.Donaldson said: "This is a largely untapped market for us and we have plans to open other motor and non-motor niche units over the coming year."These developments complement our existing acquisition strategy and in addition to acquiring complete businesses, we are now also talking to brokers about acquiring specific areas of their businesses, such as taxi risks."

Budget South Africa call centre opensBudget's South African call centre took its first live sales calls this week. The Cape Town centre opened for business with 22 staff handling calls from the Budget and Dial Direct brands.Budget group director of contact centres Franco Cotamaccio said: "Everything has gone to plan. We are very impressed with the calibre and commitment of the people we have recruited, and, coupled with the excellent quality of telephony, we are confident that we will have the same high quality standards in our South African operation as we have in the UK." The company plans to grow recruitment up to 170 staff by February 2005.