Developer Peterhouse Group is negotiating to buy a fully listed support services business. Group chairman David Jackson said: “We are close to completing two or three smaller deals likely to total about £4m but we have also identified a much larger target and expect to complete in 2001.”

The construction-to-services company, which owns Totty Construction, reported a pre-tax profit of £7.4m, a jump of 141%, for the year to 31 December 1999. Turnover rose 192% to £198.9m helped by the acquisition of civil engineering and rail contractor Jackson Group.

Peterhouse said it had closed Jackson’s m&e arm, Pearson & Raby. Its roofing contractor, Schofield & Liat, has been sold in a management buyout.

Jackson’s building services business, Ingram Smith, is to be renamed Jackson Building Services. Peterhouse intends to develop this arm in the South-east in a similar way to Totty’s building services arm in the North.

Peterhouse’s construction division increased operating profit 75% to £2.7m. Turnover rose to £96.8m, helped by Jackson Building. Peterhouse intends to apply for reclassification as a support services company in June.