Acquisition of key rival takes premiums to £150m

Jelf has claimed it now has a dominant position in the South West of England after acquiring a key rival.

Consolidator Jelf bought Bristol-based commercial broker John Lampier & Son, adding £35m to its premium income.

AIM-listed Jelf, which now controls premiums of £150m, claimed the move gave it a 15%-20% share of the Bristol and South West market.

Alex Alway chief executive of Jelf, said the acquisition, its fifth this year, provided a “springboard” to build more of a presence in the South West.

He said: “The companies have com-plementary areas of expertise. Together we will become a force to be reckoned with in Bristol and the South West. There is tremendous potential for growth.”

He added that the immediate focus for the company was on the South West region. “There are still a number of brokers there,” he said.

Alway said the company would continue making acquisitions for the next two to three years.

It had recently refinanced, through its banking facility with Royal Bank of Scotland, providing funds for a “number” of further acquisitions, said Alway.

The acquisition of Lampier will boost Jelf’s professional indemnity (PI) expertise with specialist PI broker Lampier Professions being included in the deal.

Jelf had been searching for a PI team to service its professional firms client base.

There was potential to increase its income from this sector as the enlarged group would be of sufficient size to deal direct with Lloyd’s underwriters, the company said.

Jelf’s interim results for the six months ended 31 March 2007 showed strong growth, with 128% increase in turnover to £17.1m compared to £7.5m in the same period in 2006. Underlying organic turnover growth was up 24%.