Deal worth £19.7m done through Hanover Park subsidiary

Erinaceous Group looks set to break into the top 30 UK brokers after acquiring Keelan Westall through its insurance subsidiary, Hanover Park Commercial (HPC), in a deal worth £19.7m.

Last year the company declared it would target a top 10 regional broker spot through its commercial property unit by the end of 2007. This, it said, would be achieved through big name acquisitions and organic growth.

Andy Halsted, chief executive of HPC said the company's growth aspirations were "greatly enhanced" by the acquisition of Keelan Westall.

"The team brings expertise and infrastructure that delivers a step change in HPC's product range. It also makes HPC one of the largest independent brokers in the property insurance market with a gross written premium of about £200m."

Keelan Westall will continue to work as an independent subsidiary of Erinaceous, sitting alongside HPC.

Its founder and chairman, Alan Westall, has retired from the business, while senior manager Tony Trueman will become finance director of HPC. Nick Crocker has been named as insurance director of HPC.

Ashley Canning will continue as managing director of Keelan Westall. He said: "This deal will open up a range of opportunities for us. Commercial property is our specialty and we are not about to change that, but we will be making the most of cross-selling opportunities."

' This week, Erinaceous announced a rise in its insurance profits to £8.1m for the year ending 30 June 2005 from £7.4m a year earlier. Revenues also rose to £16.7m from £13.7m in the previous year.