Funds to support impending acquisitions.

Cooper Gay has secured a £31.6m debt financing facility with National Australia Bank, London, which will be used to support its ongoing acquisition drive and consolidate its existing debt.

The broker is currently involved with a number of acquisition opportunities at varying stages of development.

Last month, chief executive Toby Esser told Insurance Times he expected to complete a significant acquisition by the Autumn, although he added that he would be unwilling to pay any more than three times a multiple of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBIDTA).

The news follows the acquisition of the aviation, reinsurance and UK wholesale divisions of Heath Lambert, as well as elements of its international business, GBS, for a sum in the region of £6m two months ago.

Last year, Portuguese corporation Sonae took a 14 per cent stake in the company and the granted the broker a war chest of £15m, to be made available on a draw-down basis.

The following June the broker purchased the remaining minority stakes in Cooper Gay France, and Creechurch International Underwriters in March this year. It also acquired a portfolio of business was acquired from CRS Group (London) in September 2007.

The new facility replaces funding provided by RBS, who will remain as a supporting partner to the group.

In May, the broker posted a 32 per cent increase in EBITDA to £15.8m. Group revenues rose by 3 per cent to £68.1million over the same period, and have increased from £58.1m in 2005 and £29.4m since 2001, the year that Esser became chief executive of the company.

He said: "I believe it is a very positive endorsement of our business model that we are able in such turbulent times to put together this financing package.

"There are further acquisition and organic growth opportunities out there to build the business and this is a significant step forward in the achievement of our objectives."

Phil Rock, Cooper Gay's group chief financial officer added: "We are delighted to complete this exercise, which alongside the investment by Sonae in 2007, gives us the financial capacity to continue with our strategy to build the business.

"We found National Australia Bank to be a receptive listener and look forward to a long lasting relationship."