Welsh broker Protectagroup is set to float on the London Stock Exchange after completing an aggressive acquisition drive which will more than quadruple its size.

The personal lines broker intends to proceed with an initial public offering (IPO) by 2011 through a main market flotation, which may include the yet to be launched Gibraltar Exchange.

Paul Ragan, chief executive of Protectagroup, told Insurance Times that prior to flotation the company proposed to significantly grow its brokerage from £8m to £40m through the acquisition of a number of commercial lines brokers outside the Welsh market.

He said Protectagroup, which is the largest independent broker in Wales with more than 60,000 customers, was currently in advanced discussions with four companies.

These ranged from £5m to £10m in total annual revenue, he said.

The list of potential acquisition targets, which includes a number of London-based businesses, has been whittled down in recent months from an original list of 25.

"We need to make an acquisition this year if we intend to float the company by 2011," said Ragan.

"In the next 10 months we have to execute something serious because if we don't in reality, the timetable will be pushed back."

Ragan admitted that with increased competition in the acquisition market, the option of merging with a similar sized company in order to achieve scale was a possibility.

"I think there will be an increase in the number of mergers because we cannot be the only business out there working hard to acquire alternative businesses," he added.

Protectagroup rebranded in 2005 following an MBO by former Motaquote Insurance executives in 2004.

It specialises in the motor, caravan, classic car, home and travel insurance markets.