Norwich Alan Boswell Group eye takeover deal as profits soar

The boss of Norwich-based insurance brokers Alan Boswell Group has revealed that the company wants to take on more staff and is looking out for a potential takeover deal as its end-of-year results show a 22pc rise in profits.

Results for the company show its pre-tax profit increased from �1,702,146 to �2,085,117 with revenue increasing by almost 11pc, from �9,349,468 to �10,368,793.

Staff numbers rose by nearly 10pc from 157 to 172 and director Alan Boswell said those numbers were set to increase to 200 by the end of the year.

The firm also has almost �3.7m in capital and reserves, a 36pc increase on last year, and Mr Boswell said now could be a good time to buy another business, though he was yet to find a company which had caught his eye.

The results show a year-on-year rise in pre-tax profits, and Mr Boswell said the company, which he founded in 1982, had grown organically.

'We would buy if we could find anything that was the right money,' he said. 'We are still keen to have a deal. We haven't got any borrowing, we don't owe anything to anyone.'

Despite difficult trading conditions he said the company's success was down to a number of factors.

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'We are totally independent,' he explained. 'We don't have anybody telling us what to do. We employ our own people and we do not outsource anything.

'We could outsource all our claims and save on 12 staff. We could get rid of all of that, but I do not think that is the right thing to do.

'We can see everything that is going on in all the departments and how they work together.

'If a claim is not going right we need to find out what is going on so we do not lose the business. If the claims department is outsourced it is too late by the time we find out.'

Mr Boswell added: 'It is very competitive. We've got to add value. We do because of the training we put in and the skill levels we get within our staff'

He said the group had not bought another business for nearly a decade because an era of consolidation had priced them out of the market. But he believed that, with the downturn, now could be a good time.

Recent expansion has included the opening of a London office specialising in financial services, one new office in Ely last month and an office in Norwich's Thorpe Road. Three years ago ABG opened an office in Bury St Edmunds.

Mr Boswell also said that the company's apprenticeship scheme had been a success.

'We've now got five new apprentices, all youngsters. They've all done their A-levels. We've taken them straight from school.

'We have got guys who are now in their mid-20s who have done really well and we've got people going out and seeing clients and we spend a lot of money on that.'

But he said the recent trading environment had not been without its challenges, but the company had been particularly successful niche markets such as landlord insurance and self-drive insurance.

'If somebody goes bust you lose the business,' he added. 'You have to keep sourcing new business and we use the web a lot. We do business all over the country.'