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Equistone Partners Europe Limited (“Equistone”), one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity investors, today announces it has entered into an agreement to sell its majority holding in A-Plan Insurance, a UK based, independent insurance broker to HgCapital.

Founded in 1963, Oxfordshire based A-Plan provides products from a wide range of insurers, including SME commercial, motor and home, and high net worth insurance.  The Company currently operates 73 branches nationwide, and serves over 580,000 policyholders.

Since Equistone backed the management team in a primary buyout in 2008, the company has realised strong growth, increasing revenues from £44m in 2008 to around £73m for the financial year ending February 2015. During its investment period, Equistone worked alongside A-Plan’s management team to develop the business, opening 19 new branches and increasing headcount by 380 to over 970 employees.

“We are delighted to be backing Carl and his team in this transaction and will endeavour to support the business as it continues to pursue its growth strategy. With its high levels of recurring revenue and customer retention, alongside impressive customer advocacy, we have been hugely impressed by the quality of A-Plan’s service offering; we see great potential in further developing its branch network and specialist lines. Insurance distribution has been a key area of sector focus for us, and we believe we have invested in a true industry champion through this transaction.”

Andrew Land, Partner at HgCapital

“We have enjoyed considerable growth over the last six years, with new branch openings and the development of specialist insurance lines. We have really appreciated our partnership with Equistone, who have been proactively supportive of our growth and investment objectives.

We are very excited about the next chapter in A-Plan’s growth and look forward to working with HgCapital as we continue to expand our national footprint and embark on the next phase of delivering A-Plan’s leading levels of service to a larger number of clients. On a day to day basis, it’s very much business as usual for our clients, staff and insurer partners.”

Carl Shuker, Chief Executive Officer at A-Plan

“We are proud to have been partners with A-Plan since 2008, when we identified a unique insurance distributor with significant growth potential. We have relished working alongside an experienced and entrepreneurial management team, to support them in successfully driving the growth of the business and further differentiating it from its peers, despite the competitive market conditions of recent years. With a loyal and growing customer base, longstanding insurance relationships and a good brand, A-Plan is well positioned to continue its growth under new ownership. We wish Carl and his team every success in the future.”

Andrew Backen, Partner at Equistone Partners Europe

Completion of the transaction remains subject to FCA approval.

Advisors to HgCapital on the transaction included:

KPMG Corporate Finance, Ashcombe Advisers & IMAS (M&A and debt)

Linklaters (legal)

OC&C (commercial due diligence)

Deloitte (financial due diligence)