Takeover of Kerwin Smith boosts broker's premium income to £135m

Giles Insurance Brokers (GIB) will focus on acquisitions in England and Wales after being snubbed by brokers in Scotland.

"We are trying to make acquisitions in Scotland, but nobody will sell," said Giles Insurance chief executive, Chris Giles.

In England, however, he said there was a healthy pipeline of acquisitions,

following this week's takeover of Wigan-based Kerwin Smith.

The acquisition will add weight to the broker's presence in the North.

The takeover of commercial fleet and courier broker Kerwin Smith will bring GIB's premium income to £135m.

Giles said premium income would be boosted further by an acquisition in the Home Counties worth between £20m and £25m in May, taking the total to £160m.

"Given our commitment to remain independent we believe that brokers will want to align themselves with an independent broker," Giles said. "Smart & Cook has gone to AXA and that will create space for us."

The move follows a £30m refinancing deal with its investor partners, Gresham and Clydesdale Bank.

"We want to go to the stock market with a premium income of between £250m and £300m, it will take us two years to get there," Giles said.

"We will want to go to full market, not AIM because we believe the benefits are greater there. It is unlikely that we will make a £50m or £60m acquisition. Our model is all about integration.

"We expect companies to take on our systems and our brandings, and although this might make it more difficult to make acquisitions, it is the right way to move forward."

Giles added that he would not reduce his one third shareholding of the company, although his investor partners may opt to review their position at a later date.