Property group Connaught has made its second acquisition in recent weeks with the £21.7m purchase of a gas appliance maintenance firm.
Connaught said Gasforce, which employs 390 people, was the UK's largest industrial and commercial gas appliance maintenance firm. The deal, completed this week, follows Connaught's acquisition of fit-out specialist Bluu for £1m last month.

Connaught chief executive Mark Tincknell said the purchase would allow Connaught to cross-sell services to Gasforce's customers, opening up a new market for the group.

Gasforce has more than 60,000 customers and services about 80,000 premises around the UK. It has four divisions and made a pre-tax profit of £1.64m for the year to 31 May 2002, on turnover of £25.39m.

Connaught paid £15.7m in cash and £6m in shares for Gasforce. Connaught plans to raise £11.9m by releasing more shares on to the market to help pay for Gasforce.

The share offering has been fully underwritten by Connaught's broker KBC Peel Hunt. The property group believes the deal will be earnings-enhancing by next year.