Moorhouse has created a £5m war chest to drive forward an aggressive acquisition programme designed to push it into the top 50 broker league by 2008.

Moorhouse chairman Lyndon Wood said the company has been squirreling money for some time to fund the acquisition programme.

He unveiled ambitious plans to reach a commission income of £13m by 2008. The figure now stands at £4m.

Wood said he had a team of people working to identify commercial brokerages "ripe for the picking".

They must be "well managed, fully compliant and pro-active," he said.

Wood said he was "open to offers" from brokers of all sizes, but Moorhouse would be looking primarily for companies with portfolios of gross written premium between £500,000 and £10m.

The company will also be expanding its workforce and has plans to recruit up to 160 staff. Wood said staff would be based in its Caerphilly headquarters.

In a separate move, Moorhouse has signed a £45m three-year deal with Singer & Friedlander Insurance Finance (SFIF).

Moorhouse said SFIF would provide it with streamlined premium finance solutions and bespoke EDI to enhance efficiency.

"We are building our reputation to become a real force in this market," Wood said.