The support services group created by last week's merger between Mouchel and Parkman has set itself the goal of becoming a FTSE 350 company within 12 months.
Stuart Black, Mouchel's business development director, said Mouchel Parkman hoped be big enough to enter the FTSE 350. The firm hopes that this will make its shares more attractive to institutional investors.

Black added that there were unlikely to be redundancies among the mainstream staff, although some support staff may leave as the companies' systems are integrated. The directors of the combined group believe that the merger will lead to a £2m reduction in operating costs in the first full financial year.

The £91.5m merger, which cost about £3m to set up, is conditional on the approval of the companies' shareholders. A single board will be installed, led by Richard Cuthbert, the chief executive of Parkman.

The move means that Mouchel has been able to call off its search for a chief executive. Jim Harding, the outgoing chief executive, will sit on the combined board as a non-executive director.

Richard Benton, Mouchel's chairman, and Kevin Young, its finance director, will fill the same roles for Mouchel Parkman.

The companies believe that the merger will allow the businesses to become a major player in the support services sector.

Parkman chairman Richard Archer said: "The combined group will have outstanding people and greater financial resources. This enhanced strength will allow Mouchel Parkman to play a significant role in winning and servicing longer-term and larger contracts across a growing range of sectors."

Upon completion of the merger Mouchel shareholders will hold 58.9% of the company and Parkman's shareholders will have 41.1%. The combined group has a forward order book valued at £704m.

Mouchel also announced a second interim dividend of 1.45p per share payable on 3 October. Parkman shareholders will not be eligible to receive this dividend.