BGL Group has acquired French insurance price comparison firm Courtanet.
As part of the deal Courtanet, which is based in Paris, will operate as a standalone business under the BGL Group board. Courtanet founder and chief executive Jehan de Castet will report to BGL Group chief operating officer Matthew Donaldson.
Peter Winslow, chief executive of the BGL Group, said: "We believe that the French general insurance market offers considerable opportunities. It's a similar size to the UK. Broadband internet penetration is also at similar levels to the UK, yet the French market has been slower to embrace the research and purchase of insurance online. But there are signs that this is changing, as insurers invest in better online systems.
"Both internet purchase activity and the revenues of aggregators in France are reminiscent of the UK market in 2005. Of course, no investment is without risk, but we are confident that we will be entering the market during a period of rapid growth."
Jehan de Castet, Chief Executive of Courtanet, said: "We believe that French consumers should benefit from impartial comparison in order to better choose their insurance products and save substantial amounts every year. French consumers are ready to embrace comparison as a new way to research and buy insurance thanks to the strong growth of insurance online.
"We are delighted that our knowhow, as evidenced in the latest ranking by "La Tribune" in 2010, has raised interest from a leading UK insurance group. The BGL Group has unique expertise and Courtanet's customers and partners will benefit greatly from our alliance."
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