Newry insurance broker Autoline has been sold to Prestige Insurance for an undisclosed sum. Prestige already owns Abbey Insurance and Open + Direct.
Autoline was set up in 1975 and was acquired by Michael Blaney in 1997. The broker provides personal lines, business and commercial insurance and a young driver app, Chilli Drive. It also sells private health and farm insurance. Autoline has offices in Newry, Ballymena, Coleraine, Downpatrick and Enniskillen.
In its most result results for 2017, Autoline Direct Insurance Consultants reported an increase in sales of 12.8% to £53.5m, with pre-tax profits of £2m.
Prestige Insurance Holdings, which this year received a massive investment from Capital Z in the US, was set up in Newtownabbey in 1973 and provides broking, underwriting, insurance software and claims management. Capital Z is now the company's majority shareholder.
Its latest deal - which is subject to approval by the competition authorities - will involve the acquisition of the full shareholding of Autoline's parent company. In total, the expanded Prestige group would employ over 700 people.
Trevor Shaw, chief executive of Prestige Insurance Holdings, said: "Following the investment brought by our new majority owners Capital Z we have openly stated that we have ambitious plans for growth of the group.
"Very much like our own business, Autoline has a customer-centred approach and a strong reputation, which makes it an excellent fit and an obvious choice for acquisition.
"As a newly combined management team we will utilise the knowledge of both businesses for the benefit of our customers and for maximum growth."
In 2016 Abbey bought Open + Direct in a multi-million pound deal that made it the dominant insurance player in the Northern Ireland market with a total of 200,000 customers and 420 staff.
The acquisition of Autoline will increase its market share, although the numbers of customers on Autoline's books has not been disclosed.