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ECI in £57m insurance deal

The deal comes as ECI plans to raise approximately £400m for its tenth buyout fund.

UK-based ECI Partners has acquired a minority stake in Avantia, an online consumer insurance business, whose main brand is insurance provider HomeProtect.

ECI has backed the company in a £57 million buyout, according to a statement.

It is unclear how much equity ECI has used for the transaction. It is understood that the debt for the deal has been provided by Lloyds Banking Group.

ECI declined to comment beyond the statement.

More than 80 percent of Avantia’s customers are in what other insurers would consider to be ‘difficult to insure’ risk categories. That includes homeowners who run businesses from home or have previous convictions, as well as properties that are larger, listed, unoccupied or have flat or thatched roofs.

ECI will support the company to grow faster organically as well as by acquisitions, and will also support the business in entering new markets, Paul McCreadie, an investment director at ECI, said in the statement.

Avantia is the thirteenth investment made from the firm’s current fund, a £437 million vehicle which was raised in 2008. Following the acquisition of West End ticket seller Encore Tickets Group last December, ECI 9 was approximately 70 percent deployed.

ECI’s latest investment comes as the firm plans to hit the road with its tenth buyout fund, which will target £400 million (€479 million, $657 million), PEI reported in December.

The vehicle is understood to have a similar strategy as ECI 9 and will be targeting growth companies valued between £10 million and £150 million.