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Wesfarmers to acquire Crombie Lockwood

Australia's Wesfarmers has entered into an agreement to acquire the trading businesses of New Zealand's largest privately owned insurance broking group, Crombie Lockwood Holdings.

Crombie Lockwood, which also operates a specialist underwriting agency and premium funding business, is New Zealand’s largest domestic broker focusing on the commercial and small to medium enterprise sectors.

The company, which has annual revenues of NZ$50 million, will form part of the Wesfarmers Insurance Division. However, Crombie Lockwood will continue to be managed and branded separately from Wesfarmers’ New Zealand underwriting business, Lumley General, in order to maintain its independence and growth.

Richard Goyder, managing director of Wesfarmers, said that the transaction built upon the company’s entry into the insurance broking market, which began with its 2003 acquisition of Lumley General, New Zealand. He added that it will also provide Wesfarmers with complementary country coverage to the OAMPS broking business in Australia.

Steve Lockwood, CEO of Crombie Lockwood, commented: Being part of a larger organization will give greater financial comfort to our clients and more opportunities for our staff while positioning us to capitalize on market opportunities.

Mr Lockwood will continue as CEO and will report to Bob Buckley, managing director of Wesfarmers’ insurance division. Carl O’Shea will continue as COO of Crombie Lockwood but Colin Crombie is to retire from his position as chairman.

The terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed but it will be funded by existing debt facilities.