Bland Bankart reported a £1.43m operating profit for 2003, an increase of 76% from 2002.

Bland attributed the good performance to an increase in rates and trade.

The company's turnover increased slightly from £14.9m to £15.7m. In 2003, the company spent £600,000 on an in-house training programme, the fruit of which it says will only be seen in 2005.

Bland added: "For 2004 and beyond, we will be looking at other broker firms to acquire in due course."

The acquisition of insurance broker Bland Bankart by Oval was finally completed last week, ten days after the initial acquisition was announced. The UK insurance broking consolidator bought Bland Bankart for around £22m through a mixture of cash and shares.

Philip Bland, chairman of the Oval operating board, said: "We are delighted that the deal has been completed in such timely fashion. We will continue to deal with the same insurers but we do expect some influence as to which markets we can use."