Hilb Rogal Set to Buy T.J. Adams Group; Insurance Giant Continues to Pursue Growth Plan

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 10, 2004 | Go to article overview

Hilb Rogal Set to Buy T.J. Adams Group; Insurance Giant Continues to Pursue Growth Plan


Byline: Marguerite Higgins, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Richmond insurance giant Hilb Rogal & Hobbs Co., continuing its aggressive acquisition plan, said yesterday it would purchase Chicago insurance broker T.J. Adams Group LLC.

The acquisition, the third-largest for Hilb Rogal, is part of the company's goal to buy several companies by the end of the year. Executives estimate the acquisitions will generate $30 million to $60 million a year in revenue.

Hilb Rogal, an insurance intermediary that manages risks in areas such as property and casualty, has bought three other companies this year and still is integrating Hobbs Group LLC, the company's largest acquisition in July 2002, into its operations.

The company plans to buy T.J. Adams for an undisclosed amount. The deal is expected to close by September.

Several analysts welcomed the news and recent changes in the company's sales model after Hilb Rogal posted a small bump in its second-quarter results.

"They announced a pretty good acquisition," said Jason Busell, an analyst with New York investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. Mr. Busell said he rated the company as "market performance," or hold, because he is cautious about softer premium rates that are squeezing the insurance brokerage industry.

The insurance industry's pricing tends to be cyclical, with a hard market driving up premiums while a soft market brings them down. After about three years of rising premiums, analysts say, they are seeing a slight decline.

"But if [Hilb Rogal] continues to focus on improving organic growth and acquiring these smaller firms that are strategic fits, they should do OK," said Mr. Busell, who does not own any Hilb Rogal stock. Keefe Bruyette has no business with Hilb Rogal.

Profits for the quarter ended June 30 climbed 7 percent, below some analysts' expectations, to $20. …

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