Ukip donor to float insurance firm

The tycoon who bankrolled Nigel Farage’s Brexit campaign is hoping to top up his fortune by more than £200 million through the flotation of his car and home insurance business.

Arron Banks, who gave £7.5 million to the Leave.EU campaign, is shooting for a valuation of as much as £250 million for Eldon Insurance Services, the insurance broker and claims management operation that includes the GoSkippy brand. The outspoken Ukip donor owns 90 per cent of the Bristol-based business, whose ultimate parent is a company registered on the Isle of Man.

Andy Wigmore, a spokesman for Mr Banks, said that Eldon was expected to appoint advisers this week for its planned listing on the AIM junior market. Mr Banks’s valuation for the company looks heroic. Eldon’s most recent accounts, for the year to December 2015, show an operating profit of £300,000 on turnover of £33.6 million.

Mr Wigmore said that the latest figures, due to be published in the next few weeks, would be “extremely strong”.

The results are expected to draw attention to new artificial intelligence technology, developed during the referendum campaign and now put to use in the insurance field. Mr Wigmore said that it reduced the cost of customer acquisition and cut insurance fraud by more than 90 per cent, particularly over whiplash claims.

Although it is unclear whether Mr Banks plans to take cash out at the float, the planned listing could be regarded as an attempt to cash in on his post-Brexit fame. He is the author of The Bad Boys of Brexit, his diary of the campaign which may be turned into a Hollywood film. He is in talks with three parties, including Warner Bros and Netflix, over a film that could give the celluloid treatment to Mr Farage.

Mr Wigmore said that representatives from all three studios had been invited to attend a “drinks party” hosted by Mr Farage and Mr Banks at the Hay-Adams hotel in Washington on January 19 — the day before the inauguration of the president-elect, Donald Trump. Mr Banks and Mr Farage were seen flanking Mr Trump in a photograph days after the US election.

Eldon would not be the first insurance company float to have delivered a fortune to Mr Banks. Its forerunner is Brightside, another Bristol-based company he set up. It listed in 2011 before being bought by the private equity house AnaCap for £127 million in 2014.

Mr Banks has previously said that he first demonstrated his entrepreneurial skills at school. He was expelled after selling lead stolen from the roofs of school buildings.