Broking consolidator moves into region

INSURANCE broking consolidator Oval has made its first acquisition in East Anglia with the addition of A J Cook (Insurance Brokers) Ltd to its growing national network.

INSURANCE broking consolidator Oval has made its first acquisition in East Anglia with the addition of A J Cook (Insurance Brokers) Ltd to its growing national network.

A J Cook, which is based in Ipswich and trades as Cook Sheppard Pinhey, employs a staff of more than 50 and last year generated gross written premium income of around £17million.

The firm specialises in insurance broking and risk management for businesses, with clients in sectors including the professions, construction, transport, motor trade, food and retail, and also has an independent financial advice division serving both private and corporate clients.

Peter Bradbeer, formerly financial director at A J Cook, said: “Cook Sheppard Pinhey has always had a strong commitment to providing client care and, as Investors in People, to developing the full potential of our staff.


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“We feel that Oval is closely aligned to our values. As the market hardens, Oval will provide security for our clients and an even wider range of services and expertise.”

Cook Sheppard Pinhey, which is based in Foundation Street, Ipswich, has been established more than 25 years and was included in the Insurance Age Top 100 Independent Brokers listing for 2007.

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Its acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, is the 26th by Oval since it was established in October 2003, with the aim of consolidating high quality regional brokers and financial services businesses into a national network

Most of its acquisitions have been located in the midlands, the south-west, northern England and central Scotland, but they have also included firms in London and the south-east.

In the 12 months to May 31, 2007, Oval had a turnover of £60million, equivalent to more than £85million on an annualised basis taking into account acquisitions made during the year. It how has more than 1,000 employees across the UK.

Jeff Herdman, group managing director of Oval, said: “Cook Sheppard Pinhey is an extremely professional and long established firm that has developed close relationships with its clients and a wide range of insurers. We are delighted that the company has joined the Oval group.”

The Ipswich office of accountants and business advisers PKF helped to arrange the deal, together with Norwich solicitors Mills & Reeve.

Keith Ferguson, head of corporate finance at PKF in Ipswich, said: “Deals of this sort take dedication, patience and professionalism not just from PKF but from all parties concerned. We were very pleased to be part of such a team.”

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