Lloyd's broker ready to make acquisition.
Lloyd’s broker Cooper Gay is poised to defy the credit crunch and make fresh acquisitions.
Toby Esser, the broker’s chief executive, said he hoped to wrap up a deal this week, but could not reveal the firm’s identity.
Cooper Gay bought the reinsurance, aerospace and UK wholesale divisions of Heath Lambert in May, and has raised about £32m for future acquisitions.
Esser said: “We have been in discussions with a couple of different outfits, some in London, some in the US and some on the continent. We are pretty close on the heads on one particular deal.”
Cooper Gay was in a strong financial position because it had “high margins” and a “sound business” model, the chief executive said.
Esser said financing for expansion would be done through National Australia Bank, adding that the decision to switch from Royal Bank of Scotland two months ago had been “pretty good timing”.
“In the past month the financial crisis has led us to see more activity in recent times than otherwise we might have seen.
“Our debt multiples are very good as we do not have a problem there. Also, there are not many alternative places for a lot of business to go, there are not a huge number of buyers.”
He added: “Right now is a good time for being conservative and making sure every deal is a good deal.”
Cooper Gay’s growth strategy would be to avoid retail insurance and expansion concentrated on reinsurance and wholesale brokers.
He said the process of consolidation would continue despite the recent financial turmoil.
Cooper Gay has previously outlined its plans to expand in the Asia-Pacific region and has hired two experienced executives to lead the push.
Stephen Britten joined Cooper Gay (Asia) as regional managing director in August. Richad Tsoi, previously an executive director at HSBC Insurance Brokers (Asia Pacific), will join the company as managing director of Cooper Gay (Hong Kong) this month.