Exeter-based contractor and facilities management group Connaught is looking for acquisitions to expand its services business.
Chief executive Mark Tincknell said the group was targeting firms offering services that Connaught subcontracted out.

He said: "We need to maintain our growth and we want a good-quality services business that is property based, so we become a facilities manager who directly hires the cleaners and so on rather than contracting it out.

"That would give us more control over the standard of service. This could be M&E, waste, FM or landscape."

An acquisition would please the City, which has been waiting for Connaught to use its stock market listing to make a purchase. One analyst said: "Tincknell has been cautious, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but now it's time to crack on."

Connaught focuses on lucrative long-term contracts with local authorities, mainly refurbishing social housing and facilities management. It has a fit-out arm based in London.

Connaught's turnover has grown 151% since its flotation on the alternative investment market in 1998, and its turnover is set to top £100m this year.

Tincknell's goal is for it to reach £250m in three years.

The group's order book is up from £25m at flotation to £175m, of which £125m is long-term partnering agreements, mainly with local authorities for their social housing repair and maintenance.