Chief executive Blanc ‘really grateful’ for group focus in face of sale talks

Oval’s profitability is nearly 20% ahead of last year’s, according to group chief executive Peter Blanc.

The group is understood to be in exclusive talks to sell its broking arm to Arthur J Gallagher and financial services arm to Pantheon Financial, but Blanc said he was “grateful” to see staff staying client focused.

In a note posted on the group’s staff-only intranet, seen by Insurance Times, Blanc said: “I am delighted to report that trading results across the group continue to be extremely positive, with EBITDA up 19% when compared to this time last year [eight months to 31 January], at £14,312,000, growth of £2,310,000.

“We are winning some great new accounts and there is positive momentum throughout the business, with the recognition of another national award this month, this time for our trade credit team. Huge congratulations to all involved.

“There are bound to be some feelings of uncertainty whilst the sale talks are in progress so I’m really grateful that as a company we are clearly staying focused and doing what we have always done best – looking after our clients.”

Blanc told Insurance Times: “In view of the M&A rumours I wanted to reassure staff that the underlying numbers are going in the right direction.

“The thing with uncertainty is you worry about people taking their eye off the ball.

“I’m just glad the offices are sticking to their knitting; it’s quite important at this time.”

Blanc declined to name the clients Oval had won but said they were “really big property and construction clients” and also included a couple of “big charities”.

Most of the new clients were won from national corporate brokers, he added.

Oval reported £17.3m EBITDA for the full year ended 31 May 2013.