Broker continues to grow affinity business at Purple Partnership network

Alex Alway Jelf

Jelf is looking to make one or two acquisitions in 2013 after four years or growing organically, chief executive Alex Alway said.

The company is continuing to expand the membership of its Purple Partnership network.

Alway’s comments come as Jelf announced a profit after tax of £3.5m for the year to 30 September 2012, up 23.5% on the £2.8m it made the previous financial year.   

Alway told Insurance Times following the release of the results: “We have been looking at a lot of deals but the prices have been unrealistic. We are actively looking at making one or two acquisitions next year and we are one of the few firms capable of making the deals.”

Alway believes Jelf will be able to fund the acquisitions from existing cash flows. Jelf has moved to a net cash position of £2.8m in the 2012 financial year from a net debt position of £3m in 2011 after using surplus cash to early repayments on its debt.

He said: “We have certainly got the ability to raise a bit of debt but we’re in a very strong position. We have got strong cash flows, we have got net cash and we are going to utilise that.”

Alway declined to comment on the size of Jelf’s acquisition fund or the size of brokers the company is considering, but he said: “If you look at Jelf’s pattern, we have always focused on acquiring good quality commercial lines brokerages and employee benefit p brokerages.”

He added that the company’s ability to make acquisitions next year would “depend on whether we can reach an agreement on those deals”.

Jelf’s insurance division chief executive Phil Barton told Insurance Times in October that Jelf was back on the acquisition trail after a four-year absence.

Alway also said that Jelf’s Purple Partnership broker network, which had just under 70 members at in October, had added three or four new members in the first quarter of its financial year.

He said: “We have worked hard to ensure that the model reflects the needs of our membership but also the needs of our provider relationships as well. We can see that will continue to grow over the course of the next year. “

Purple Partnership currently places gross written premium of £125m.