Management: Having led a management buyout at Saga, when Saga and AA merged in 2007 to form Acromas, Andrew Goodsell became chief executive of the combined entity, which comprises AA Insurance and the broker of insurance products to over-50s.
The merger came as the two companies were acquired in a £6.2bn deal by three private equity houses – Permira, CVC and Charterhouse. In classic private equity style, the deal was accompanied by a refinancing deal that piled a huge £4.8bn of debt onto the combined balance sheet.
Strategy: The ensuing cost-stripping exercise, including the axing of 3,500 jobs, caused controversy. Then the debt began taking its toll, with Saga’s last annual results showing a loss of £529m in the year to January 2009.
Although Saga recorded a profit of £183.5m for the year, this was wiped out by interest payments on its £6.4bn debt of £705m. Nonetheless, ahead of a planned flotation or sale, Saga bought UK in-home healthcare provider Allied Healthcare International in August for $175m (£106m).
Big story: As a huge personal lines broker, Saga is at the heart of the referral fees issue. Goodsell will no doubt be watching the parliamentary debate on banning referral fees on 13 September very closely.
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