Scottish housebuilder Miller Group took a step closer to establishing a national presence this week with the purchase of East Midlands-based Birch.

Chief executive Keith Miller said the group, Britain’s largest private construction firm, was close to finalising details of further acquisitions.

He declined to comment on City speculation that his company was close to snapping up a South-east housebuilder, but confirmed that the region was a target.

Miller said: “We are looking to be nationally represented and are well on the way at the moment. The South and South-west are areas we are looking at. It’s a question of getting the timing right.” Birch, which has turnover of £80m, is set to build 400 homes this year at an average selling price of £125 000. Its housing arm will be called Miller Homes East Midlands and will be led by former Birch managing director Chris Endsor.

Miller said the company, which has a landbank of 4000 plots, would increase output to as many as 600 units a year.

Miller said Birch’s construction arm would be absorbed into the group and would carry out more negotiated contracts.

Birch’s property division will form part of a joint venture company with Miller’s property arm, called Miller Birch, which will be set up by Birch founder and chairman Peter Gadsby.

Miller said there were no plans for redundancies at Birch.