Quoted architect SMC Group has revealed that it is in talks to buy a European practice as it posted a 42% rise in pre-tax profit.

Stewart McColl, SMC’s chief executive, said SMC Group was talking to a number of practices in Europe and would “definitely be buying” a European architect this year.

Profit before tax grew to £1.6m for the first six months to June, up from £1.1m. Gross profit jumped 105% to £6.1m while turnover increased 108% to £11.3m.

SMC has won £2.5bn of work this year and so far has received £37m in stage fees.

Following its flotation on alternative investment market in June 2005, SMC embarked on an aggressive expansion drive acquiring seven practices including Charter Consultant Architects for £3.6m in June.

A European acquisition would mark SMC’s first foray onto the Continent. The firm has international offices in Canada and Asia.

McColl is also looking at expansion in the UK, targeting Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

McColl said: “This has been a strong period of performance for SMC. The group has enjoyed continued strategic expansion. We continue to win significant new business and are confident of the group's performance over the full year.”