Leicester broker Bland Bankart has dismissed speculation that it is up for sale and will be the next Folgate Partnerships' hub.

Owner Philip Bland said the company was not in talks with anyone. "From time to time we are approached," he said. "But there has been nothing serious," he added.

Bland said: "We will still be independent this time next year. We have a very strong position in the market."

Bland Bankart is one of the UK's biggest independent insurance brokers with a fee and commission income in excess of £13.5m for 2001, the latest year of account. At current rates, experts said that purchasers would need to spend more than £20m to acquire the business.

On 1 January, Bland Bankart withdrew from Unitas - an alliance of regional brokers. The alliance now consists of ten members including Manchester's Alec Finch and Birmingham's Perkins Slade.

Bland said: "We withdrew because our agenda is different from the rest of the group." He added: "We are three times the size of the next largest broker in the group."