Towergate Underwriting is set to go on a multi-million pound spending spree.

Group marketing director Paul Dyer said: "We have taken 12 months out to consolidate the business and work out our position in relation to The Folgate Partnership. Now that is over and we want to build up more agencies."

Dyer said: "We want to be the pre-eminent underwriting engine in the UK."

Dyer said that Towergate had secured more than £10m to fund acquisitions with the aim of doubling in size by 2006. Towergate was number 16 in the Insurance Times Top 50 Brokers, which was published last week. Its latest figures show a brokerage of £39m, an increase of 18% on the previous year. It also reveals a pre-tax profit of £5m, a staff of more than 550 people and an increase in turnover per employee of 16% on the previous year.

Dyer said that Towergate, which was founded on 1 August 1997, has 23 operating companies and a debt of around £30m.

As part of the expansion, Towergate is working on an e-commerce project which will put all of its schemes into an online shop.

Dyer said the project should take around six months to come to fruition and will include autopricing wherever possible.