HLF Insurance Holdings, formerly known as Heath Lambert, will be looking for acquisitions after filling its war chest through its impending flotation.

HLF, currently the UK's seventh largest broker, hopes to raise £250m to £300m through the global share offering within two months.

Much of the money will be needed to pay off debts incurred five years ago when venture capitalists backed a management buy-out (MBO) of the Heath Group.

The Heath Group and Lambert Fenchurch merged in 1999 after the earlier delisting of Heath from the London Stock Exchange in the 1997 MBO.

Chief officer David Margrett told Insurance

Times that the flotation would let him pay off investors and bank debt with enough left over to chase new ambitions.

"I want the greater flexibility and I want to pay down the debt we took on at the time of the MBO."

His ambitions include growth in reinsurance, aviation and international property and casualty to add to recent recruitment in those areas.

"We want to make further acquisitions. You can expect us to look at all the areas we are currently doing business in," Margrett said.

The group's largest division deals with international business. It has offices in 47 countries and an additional network stretching across 79 countries.

Its other divisions handle SMEs and personal lines, large commercial property and casualty risks and reinsurance, and marine and aviation risks.

HLF makes most of its money from commissions, rather than fees, making it well placed to take advantage of hard market conditions.

HLF Group increased its trading profit to £48.7m in the year to the end of March, up from £36.1m the year before.

Turnover increased to £278.9m from £249.8m, but investment income fell to £9.6m from £16.3m and operating expenses rose to £241.9m from £232m.

The prospectus is due to be published within a month. The deal is being handled by Merrill Lynch.