Growth in Mouchel Parkman’s public sector workload has allowed it to accumulate a £33m war chest over the past financial year.

Richard Cuthbert, chief executive of the consulting engineer, said: “We’re looking at ways to grow the business through acquisition as well as organically. But it’s about timing and finding a willing seller and making sure the culture fits.”

Mouchel Parkman declared its reserves at the same time as it posted a 29% jump in pre-tax profit for the year to 31 July 2006. The firm made £26m, compared with £21m the previous year.

Profit before tax and amortisation was £27m. Revenue rose 21% to £374m.

Richard Benton, the chairman of Mouchel Parkman, said the results were the outcome of the company’s decision to focus on work from the government, local authorities and other public sector bodies.

Highways work accounts for the bulk of Mouchel Parkman’s order book and its income from road work rose almost 8%, from £160m to £172m.

Last week the consultant was shortlisted by the Highways Agency for a £5bn widening project on the M25. It is part of a consortium that includes Carillion and Costain.

Government services, which includes property and regeneration work, increased turnover by 18% from £69m to £82m over the 12 months.

Mouchel Parkman bought rail specialist ServiGroup in May last year.

The company said the unit had performed “satisfactorily” but the chairman warned that the immediate future was challenging, partly because of uncertainty over Network Rail’s procurement plans.

Meanwhile, Mouchel Parkman has paid about £220,000 to Hertfordshire county council over delays to a project in St Albans. Cuthbert said the company thought it better to settle than to contest the complaint.