Stuart Alexander Group reported record profits of £3.53m in 2006, up nearly 80% on the previous year.

The broking group, which was acquired by AXA in January, also reported a 36% increase in turnover for the year to £14.3m.

Pre-tax profits more than doubled to £2.25m. Operating profit was £3.53m compared to £2.01m in 2005.

Chief executive Stuart Reid attributed the record profits to the group's recent acquisition of Bishop Skinner, in addition to "strong sales and marketing, and vigilance on overheads".

Specialist broker Bishop Skinner was acquired at the end of 2005.

The purchase represented a "springboard" for the group's expansion into the marine and small craft sector, while also boosting its commercial book.

"Bishop Skinner brought us both quality business, including one of the country's leading boat schemes, and quality personnel," said Reid.

He said: "The year was once again one fraught with tough market conditions.

"Rates continued to remain stable, at best, with drastic reductions in large commercial cases, as insurers once again drove for market share."