Leading premium finance provider buys rival.

Close Premium Finance has acquired Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander’s premium finance arm.

Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander (KS&F) Premium Finance is the UK’s third largest premium finance provider, funding around £250m of premiums a year to the clients of over 1,000 brokers.

Close finances over £1.75bn in annual premiums through 2,500 brokers.

The sale price of the deal was not disclosed, although KS&F’s parent, Kaupthing Bank, said the price was at a small premium to net asset value.

The deal, predicted by Insurance Times (News, 3 April), follows Close’s acquisition in March of premium finance house Amber Credit.

Bob Golden, Close Premium Finance (CPF) chief executive, said: “This acquisition is excellent news both for Close and for KS&F’s existing brokers.

“CPF is able to offer KS&F’s brokers a long-term commitment following this period of uncertainty since the sale process was announced in February and access to systems, products and services unsurpassed in the industry.”

He added that Close would continue to seize opportunities to grow its business as the credit crunch bites in order to enhance and cement the long term nature of the business.

Last month Close came to an arrangement with the administrators of premium financer Aascent to manage the run-off of the loan book and provide emergency loan facilities for clients.

Kaupthing Bank put its premium finance arm up for sale in February as part of a wider restructuring that would see it sell off Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander’s asset finance and commodity trade finance divisions, considered non-core businesses.

Iceland-based Kaupthing, which acquired Singer and Friedlander in 2005, was looking to free up liquidity in excess of £1bn from the sale of the asset finance and commodity trade finance divisions.

Kaupthing said that the sale of KS&F’s premium finance arm would free up more than £100m in liquidity.