Irish liability insurer Quinn-Direct is set to open an office on the UK mainland.

The insurer confirmed that it hopes to finalise a deal for an office in Manchester over the next two weeks.

The office will specialise in writing liability cover in the construction sector.

Commercial operations manager Trevor Shaw said: "The office will focus on employers' liability (EL) and public liability (PL) for the construction industry."

Shaw said the Manchester office would be targeting premium income of £100m as part of its business plan.

"We've already started writing business in the North West from our call centres in Ireland," Shaw said.

"We have a good understanding of the market in the North West as the construction industry has a long history of Irish influence."

Quinn Direct recently announced it had made a pre-tax profit of ¤52m (£36m) for the six months to the end of June 2003. This compared to a pre-tax profit of 󌍑m (£23m) for the 2002 full year.

Premium income for the period totalled �m (£123m), compared to ¤256m (£178m) for the whole of 2002.