BGL chief executive says targets include a well-known motor brand.

BGL Group is close to completing deals to buy two high-street brands that will join Junction, its specialist affinity business.

After announcing a 43% increase in pre-tax profit to £43m for the year to June 2008, Peter Winslow, chief executive of BGL, told Insurance Times the deals would be “very significant” for the group.

“We have two in the pipeline,” he said. “They have both got the credentials to be very big wins for Junction.”

Winslow would not reveal names, but admitted that the two included a well known name in the motor sector. The first acquisition is expected to be announced soon, with the second set to be completed on 22 December.

In its full-year results, Junction reported sales growth of 44% across its partners. It recently agreed to provide motor insurance to HSBC customers, as well as securing a joint business framework with Auto Trader and launching a new-lead hand-off scheme for More Th>n.

BGL Group’s gross written premium rose 20% to £598m. The number of policies under management increased 21% to 2.3 million.

The group also reported growth at ibuyeco, its carbon-neutral motor insurance brand, which has raised its customer base to 60,000 in a year. Elsewhere, profit rose 56% at bike insurer Bennetts.

Winslow said he was delighted with the results in what he described as a “challenging marketplace”.

“In the climate of the credit crunch and reduced consumer spending, such growth is a significant achievement,” he added.

Meanwhile, the group has appointed Matthew Gledhill marketing director for Junction. He previously headed BGL’s business brands, Budget, Bennetts and ibuyeco.

The group’s price comparison site,, has added the RAC, Bell, Alliance & Leicester and Auto Direct to its panel.

Jeremy Moll, commercial director at Comparethemarket, said: “We’re pleased to welcome these new brands and are certain they will see strong returns from the site.”