Sonae shareholding increases to 32.12%.

Cooper Gay has announced that MDS, SGPS, S.A. a subsidiary of the Portugese corporation Sonae SGPS, has increased its investment and shareholding in the company from 13.68% to 32.12%.

The terms of the further investment were not disclosed.

Sonae originally acquired a minority shareholding in Cooper Gay in June 2007. Since then Cooper Gay has announced the signing of a £31.6m senior debt financing facility with National Australia Bank and a 32% increase in earnings for the financial year ending 31 December 2007.

Cooper Gay's strategy of acquiring complementary wholesale and reinsurance businesses in the London market has also seen 10 members of the Wholesale and Direct Aviation team from Benfield and the Aerospace, Reinsurance and UK wholesale divisions of Heath Lambert join the Company. In 2008 Cooper Gay also completed the 100% purchase of its highly successful Canadian MGA, Creechurch International Underwriters.

In a statement, the company continues to look to acquire businesses and attract specialist teams that fit its strategic objectives. It is involved with a number of further acquisition opportunities at varying stages of development.

Toby Esser, Cooper Gay’s Group CEO, said: "Our original transaction with Sonae in June 2007 created real cash value for our shareholders, and gave us the financial capacity to expand our business and implement our strategic plans. Since that date we have acquired a series of high quality teams and businesses that have brought genuine expertise into the Group. I am delighted with the progress of the new teams and how they have integrated into our organisation and added to the services we can offer our clients.

“Since the initial investment, our relationship with Sonae has been extremely beneficial. There is no better measure of an investor's support than a further cash investment and Sonae's decision to increase their shareholding demonstrates their belief in Cooper Gay and the mutual benefit derived from our partnership."

Phil Rock, Cooper Gay’s Group CFO, added: "This equity infusion by Sonae puts the company on a sound footing, following on from the completion of our financing exercise with National Australia Bank in July. During these extremely turbulent times, we have been able to expand our business through carefully targeted acquisitions whilst reducing the risk of doing so."