Business Irish

Thursday 17 January 2019

Zurich subsidiary leading the race to buy Blue Insurance

Industry sources believe company could fetch €50m in sales process

Stock image
Stock image

Gavin McLoughlin - Business Correspondent

A sale of insurance intermediary Blue Insurance is well advanced, the Sunday Independent understands, with a subsidiary of Zurich the leading contender.

The company has attracted interest from a number of parties since commencing a sales process last year. Industry sources believe it could fetch in the region of €50m.

Zurich declined to comment when contacted by the Sunday Independent.

Blue Insurance did not respond to a request for comment.

Blanchardstown-based Blue provides car, home, pet, travel and gadget insurance products, among others.

In its most recently filed accounts, covering the year ending December 31, 2016, the company had profits after tax and depreciation of just over €2m. A dividend of €1.8m was paid.

Total turnover came in at almost €33m, compared to €26m the year before.

In the UK, turnover increased 7pc, while in Ireland it increased 40pc. Gross profit margin declined in both those markets however.

Directors of the company said they expected business to increase in 2017 due to marketing campaigns and an investment in advertising.

"The directors are confident that they can increase the general level of business by providing more direct products, growing their market share and entering new markets," the accounts state.

Blue was set up in 2003 by managing director Ciaran Mulligan and Rowan Devereux.

Mulligan bought Devereux out of the business in 2014 in a deal that valued Blue at around €20m.

Devereux is now an active angel investor and has taken stakes in businesses including Fan Footage, a business that crowdsources video footage from fans at concerts. It syncs the video to high-quality audio from the concert and makes the finished product available for distribution.

Mulligan has previously spoken about Blue's desire to enter the health and life insurance market. Speaking to the Sunday Independent in 2016, Mulligan said the company had been approached by a number of investment houses but had declined to sell equity. He said he expected "to continue on a self-funding path for the time being".

"We've been self-funding since we started... the profits we make will go back into reinvesting in the business. I'd never say never [on taking investment]... my perception would be if someone comes in, you lose that flexibility. Okay, you have the funds to expand more rapidly, but I think there's ways to expand without having to cede your shareholding."

Sunday Indo Business

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