Yorkshire based broker Oval is stepping up its aim of becoming a top consolidating force and a publicly listed company after it secured a £53m acquisition war chest.

The funding comes from Leeds-based Barclays Leveraged Finance (BLF) and Lloyd's TSB Corporate Acquisition Finance, and will be used to fund an ambitious acquisition programme.

Oval chief executive Phillip Hodson said: "We set up Oval with a determination to become a leading consolidator in the insurance broking industry."

The broker is looking to take in "two or three" acquisitions, of which one is understood to be imminent.

Hodson told Insurance Times he would look for acquisition opportunities across the UK. "We will not pay silly prices," he said. "We put clients first, staff second and profits third. If you don't look after clients you don't do well in the long term."

He said the ultimate aim was to float the broker on the London Stock Exchange.

Lloyd's TSB corporate acquisition finance team director, Peter Bate, said: "The market opportunities for Oval are significant, and we see them as a strong niche player."