Arthur Gallagher buys some FirstCity units

Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:21am EDT

* Acquisition to bring in further 20 mln stg

* Group looks to Oslo, Singapore, China for further growth

LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - Global reinsurance broker Arthur J Gallagher International (AJG.N) has acquired part of FirstCity Partnership Limited's reinsurance broking business and is eyeing more buys this year as part of an expansion drive, its chief executive said.

Arthur J Gallagher UK (AJG UK) has acquired the assets of UK-based FirstCity's financial and professional lines business after expanding into the energy insurance sector, corporate client risk management and the Managing General Agent space.

David Ross, chief executive of AJG UK, told Reuters late on Friday that the acquisition would bring in a further 20 million pounds ($29.7 million) in brokerage and expects a substantial uptick in top and bottom lines on the back of the transaction.

The insurance brokerage industry helps commercial clients find insurance coverage for a wide range of risks.

Ross said AJG International would look to build on its existing lines of business through further acquisitions and expansion in 2010.

"In the energy space, Oslo is of interest and for our emerging business and property cases, we will look to Singapore and China," he said.

FirstCity's financial and professional lines business will be merged into a new AJG UK division, which is expected to handle around 500 million pounds in premiums through 90 dedicated staff.

FirstCity had been close to selling to other participants in the market, but progress has been plagued by the broker's legacy issues on its balance sheet, including pension deficient problems. ($1=.6738 Pound) (Editing by Simon Jessop)

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