In July 1992 Cinven’s investors assisted BSIGM’s management to buy the business from Brown Shipley Holdings, the quoted banking and financial services group. Renamed Holmwoods Group, it provided insurance in several specialist sectors, principally the provision of insurance products to the independent schools sector in the UK and the US. It also provided broking services in the corporate insurance, personal insurance, life and pensions sectors.
Holmwoods' long-standing management team had consistently performed well. Using their excellent relationships with the independent schools, the company was confident that it could expand the range of their product offering and could develop new business with the grant-maintained school sector, then in its infancy.
In the following three years the schools insurance division performed well although in other areas the business came under some pressure. Holmwoods sold its US division and as a result repaid most of its debt facilities. In September 1995 it accepted an offer for the remainder of its business from Gibbs, Hartley Cooper, the insurance broking arm of the HSBC banking and financial services group.
Multiple returned on investment: 2x