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COBRA Group set for growth following new debt refinance with Clydesdale Bank

13th April 2015

COBRA Group, the partnership of insurance-focused businesses, is looking forward to a period of growth following the completion of a new debt finance arrangement with Clydesdale Bank.

COBRA Group was established in 2006 through the merger of six companies, creating an insurance business which provides a wide range of services to its network of members, agents and clients.

Following a management buyout in 2012, when the management de-listed the business and returned it to private ownership, the business now has reduced leverage through debt amortisation and a focus on improving profitability.

The Group has secured a £6.9m debt refinance with Clydesdale Bank in London, allowing it to focus on future growth opportunities.

Based on Fenchurch Street, the Group’s strength lies in its ability to negotiate improved terms with its insurer partners leading to greater retention rates with clients and reduced operating costs.

Stephen Burrows, chief executive of COBRA Group, said the new banking partnership with Clydesdale Bank would allow the business to focus on a growth strategy.

He said: "Working with Clydesdale Bank has been surprisingly straightforward. Their knowledge of the insurance sector has allowed COBRA to re-finance in a beneficial manner, without the need to explain the basics. We are now in a strong position to continue our future plans and concentrate on expanding our retail base across the U.K"

Paul Hambrook, senior director for specialist and acquisition finance at Clydesdale Bank, said: "The COBRA Group management team has demonstrated clear leadership and direction to its members, partners and clients, and is looking to grow in a highly competitive marketplace.

"Since the MBO in 2012, COBRA has sought to develop its service offering to give it that competitive edge. We were able to respond quickly and with a funding arrangement which suits the needs of the business now and with the flexibility to respond to future opportunities. We are looking forward to working with Stephen and his team on the next stage of their growth."

Clydesdale Bank's support for COBRA Group follows the bank's recent support for a growing number of insurance companies. In August last year it announced a new funding package for the acquisitive Clear Management Group, quickly followed by support for Seventeen Group in November. In January of this year the bank supported the growth of London Market broker Miles Smith.

Paul Hambrook said: "The insurance broker market remains very robust with some notable transactions over the last few years and Clydesdale Bank remains keen to work closely with those brokers that have supportable growth plans."

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