Chief exec confirms broker is planning some 'sizeable' deals

Lloyd’s broker Miles Smith is on the hunt for more acquisitions after buying up a petrochemical broker.

Chief executive Paul Chainey, speaking after Miles Smith posted a pre-tax loss of £466,164 last year, compared with a £37,232 loss in 2008, said the London-based broker was about to embark upon a period of acquisition. Turnover also suffered, falling from £8.6m in 2008 to £7.96m last year as the the broker battled soft-market conditions.

Chainey revealed the company completed a deal for specialist petrochemical broker HazChem Insurance Solutions in the first quarter of the year in a bid to boost its schemes and affinities offering.

HazChem, which controls gross written premium in excess of £3m, specialises in hazardous chemicals and transportation of hazardous goods.

Chainey said the broker was also working on a handful of other “sizeable” deals. “They are either enhancing our London market proposition or they fit into our schemes and affinities,” he said.

The results coincide with the company’s decision to re-register as a private limited company, instead of a public limited company, and change its name from MS Plc to Miles Smith Ltd at the end of last year.

He labelled it a “restructure”, and said the move was designed to “reduce our costs and make the company more flexible”.

He said that the benefits of being a public company – which have the potential to raise money on the stock market by selling shares – “were now very limited”.

Chairman Robin Saddler has retired and the broker is searching for a non-executive chairman to fill the role. Chainey said a number of staff had switched to alternative contracts and that there had been some natural wastage.

It currently employs 101 staff. “Like a lot of people, we’ve undergone some restructuring in the last six months prior to that year-end,” he said. “It’s a set of figures that has come at the end of a very difficult market, and we have restructured and further planned for expansion over the next three years.” Insurer Amlin acquired a minority stake in the business in July 2008.