Private building contractor sees turnover and profit increase as it wins more public sector contracts.

The Cowlin Group has achieved record sales for the year ending September 30, 2004, breaking through the £100 million barrier for the first time.

The group increased its profit 40% to £1.4m and its turnover rose 28% to £105 million. The group now employs more than 400 people and says it is planning to expand into Southern England.

The group moved to new, larger premises in Yeovil last year, and it says it is reaping the benefits targeting more big, prestigious contracts, such as a £15 million Children's Hospice in Somerset and a student accommodation project worth £16 million.

Chief executive Nick Higgs said: "We have secured a number of prestigious projects within the last 12 months. We will shortly be announcing an expansion of our region, with new office in Hampshire and Cornwall."