Construction and support services group Peterhouse is thought to be on the brink of completing an acquisition that will take it into the private finance initiative sector.

Analysts said they thought the group, which plans to increase its market capitalisation to £400m by 2002, had been pursuing a major target.

One analyst said: “In the last few months, it has been talking about nothing big. Now something significant has come up on its radar screen.”

The group said in March that it aimed to buy a fully listed support services group in 2001. After announcing the firm’s interim results last week, chairman David Jackson said: “Corporate activity remains intense and we are looking specifically to make acquisitions that will enlarge the services sector of the business.”

Jackson said the group was targeting the cellular phone market and utilities where customers were still looking to outsource.

The latest results show further growth by the group for the first half of 2000. Pre-tax profit for the six months to 30 June rose 55.8% to £5.4m, while turnover jumped 66.3% to £161.6m.