Cobra is set to expand its underwriting operation

Cobra is set to expand its underwriting agency and announce a string of acquisitions after its latest results showed increased profits.

The AIM-listed company saw revenue increase by 68% to £15.1m and operating profit up 56% to £1.8m.

Chief executive Steve Burows said the group was looking to add between £12m and £13m premium income to its underwriting operation, which reported increased commissions of 195% to £1.7m for last year.

He also praised the group’s organic growth of 13%. “We must have one of the largest organic growth rates,” he said. “I don’t think anyone has reported that high as far as we can see.”

The Cobra network, a division of the company, saw its revenue increase by 21% up from £2.6m in 2006. The network, which has 126 members, expects to add a further 25 this year.

But Burrows criticised the Lloyd’s market after the Cobra London Markets reported an overall operating loss of £0.3m. “Lloyd’s is a nightmare really,” he said. “The premiums are still soft and the conditions never change in Lloyd’s.”

After raising more than £1.6m from new shares issued on the London Stock Exchange, Burrows expects to make a number of acquisitions.

He aims to create seven hubs in major UK regions and then build on them with further broker acquisitions to increase regional presence.