GRP’s Northern Ireland brokerage enters major agreement for WTW assets

“There is no waning in our M&A appetite”

GRP’s Northern Ireland brokerage enters major agreement for WTW assets

Mergers & Acquisitions

By Mia Wallace

Global Risk Partners (GRP) has entered into an agreement with Willis Towers Watson (WTW) to acquire its commercial risk and broking business in Northern Ireland. On completion of the deal, the £57 million gross written premium (GWP) portfolio will be integrated into ABL Group, GRP’s Northern Ireland brokerage.

ABL’s CEO Maurice Boyd (pictured) will head up the combined organisation and all WTW staff involved with the portfolio will move to ABL pending agreement completion. The acquisition does not include any part of WTW’s human capital & benefits business in Northern Ireland or any operations in the Republic of Ireland, and the deal consideration is undisclosed.

Commenting on the agreement, Boyd said that the deal was a fantastic opportunity for both ABL and GRP. The portfolio is made up of a high-quality commercial business and an excellent team, he said, but it also underlines the importance that the group attaches to Northern Ireland and its confidence in the future prospects of Northern Ireland business and the wider economy.

“The acquisition follows a number of recent deals completed by ABL, which, combined with organic growth, has taken total GWP to well over £50 million,” he said. “We have now smashed through the £100 million GWP barrier and we have every intention of building on that with the strength and muscle from the new combined business.” 

Adding to this, Brian Curtis, head of Ireland, WTW, said he had been impressed by ABL’s vision for the business, its commitment to the colleagues coming on board and its emphasis on giving clients the very best product and service proposition.

Curtis continued: “I am confident our clients and colleagues will benefit greatly from the strengths of ABL and the wider GRP group.”

Meanwhile, GRP’s group CEO Mike Bruce noted that as well as being a “coup” for GRP, the agreement was a great deal for Boyd and ABL and would give them the leading position in Northern Ireland broking.

“There is no waning in our M&A appetite and we remain very focused on our acquisition strategy across the UK and Ireland,” Bruce said. “The pandemic and subsequent disruption has challenged our ambitions, but through a combination of single-minded determination, client focus and astute deal-making we continue to generate powerful momentum and excellent results for our investors and insurer partners.”

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