Jelf buys Bristol broker

Jelf Group plc, a corporate and financial consultancy, has strengthened its business in the southwest after it bought Bristol-based insurance broker John Lampier & Son.

The deal, which includes its Lampier Professions subsidiary, is part of Jelf’s strategy of buying profitable insurance brokers in southern England and South Wales.

The initial consideration is some £12.7 million, payable in cash and new ordinary shares. A deferred sum of up to £6.8 million will be paid in cash over a two-year earn out period if agreed targets are achieved.

The deal was funded by a new £30 million debt line provided by The Royal Bank of Scotland.

This transaction has added £35 million worth of premiums to Jelf’s business, raising its total by more than 30 per cent to some £150 million.

Jelf’s chief executive, Alex Always, said: “Jelf and Lampier have complementary areas of expertise, and working together we will achieve a commanding presence in and across the whole of the south west; there is tremendous potential for growth.”

Lampier will continue to trade under its own brand and led by managing director Bob Hearne who also joins Jelf’s board.

Jelf appointed a team from accountancy firm Mazars to manage a financial due diligence review of the target business.

The firm’s team was led from its Bristol office by partner Richard Bott, who was supported by head of financial services Carol Davey and head of tax Catharine Brown. The team also included Mark Grice and Andrew Hubbard, partners within Mazars’ specialist insurance group.

“This was a further example of the Mazars team working with Jelf on a strategic acquisition where speed of response and the need for total confidentiality were paramount,” Bott said.

“The acquisition of the Lampier Group, which operates under a similar ethos to Jelf, will give Jelf a pre-eminent position within the insurance broking sector throughout the region,” he added.

The vendor was advised on the financial issues of the disposal by its auditor Houghton Stone. The firm’s team was led by Indrani Keeley who said Houghton Stone has advised the company for several years.

“Our client is a very successful insurance broker in the Bristol area,” Keeley added. “This was an excellent deal for them as it has resolved succession issues and has given our client access to additional funding to continue to grow the business. It will also give them national coverage and access to complementary services provided by the Jelf Group.”

Jelf, which was established in 1989, advises more than 17,500 corporate clients ranging from public companies to small owner-managed businesses.

Lampier handles some £35 million of premiums and in the year to March 2007, made EBITDA of £1.9 million from a £6.7 million turnover.

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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