Broker unveils plan to expand network after parent company records £21,000 loss.

Broking group Cobra is to launch a drive for new members after its parent company, Cobra Holdings, reported a pre-tax loss of more than £21,000 for the 15 months to 31 March 2008.

This compares to a pre-tax profit of £297,000 in the 12 months to 31 December 2006.

The group plans to add two further packages to the Cobra Network before the end of the year.

Steve Burrows, chief executive of Cobra, said the network was adding two new members each month and would look to expand its offering from the current standard package and capital release scheme.

“We are looking to add two further options of membership,” he said.

“One might incorporate an online personal lines facility and the other is a combination of different commissions with a small capital release packet attached to it. There is lots of competition at the moment and you have to keep reinventing yourself.”

Burrows said the packages could be launched next month, but no decisions had yet been made.

“We will test it with our own membership before we announce the final details. We hope it will allow us to become even more successful,” he said.

Operating profit at Cobra Holdings rose to £1.8m for the 15 months to 31 March 2008, up 19% on a like-for-like annualised basis.

Revenue increased by 68% on the same annualised basis to £18.87m.

Cobra said the performance of its Lloyd’s business, Cobra London Markets, and last summer’s floods were the main reasons why the company’s results had not matched expectations at the time of listing on the Alternative Investment Market in July 2007.

“The impact of these factors on the level of underlying EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation] has been partly mitigated by a creditable underlying performance in difficult trading conditions in most of the group’s businesses,” the company said in a statement.

Burrows said increased marketing and referrals from network members would help turn the Lloyd’s business around after it reported a £130,000 operating loss for the 15-month period.