Property services group Rok is planning a major expansion which could create hundreds of Midlands jobs.

The company sees the region as a prime area for growth - as it seeks to double its national office count and quadruple staffing over three to four years.

Rok last month started its planned Midlands march with the acquisition for £4.5 million of Birmingham-based social housing specialist Kingfisher Building Company.

Group chief executive Garvis Snook said: "We have a strong UK presence but are currently weaker in the Midlands and East Anglia.

"We have 40 branches and aim to have in excess of 80 and anticipate a lot in the Midlands."

The company employs 2,500 people - a figure which is anticipated to rise to 10,000.

Mr Snook said: "We are planning to quadruple our labour force and carry out work by our own staff rather than sub-contractors."

A spokesman said the Midlands was key to plans and "hundreds" of jobs could be created.

Rok aims to be known as the "nation's local builder" operating from offices in major towns, using teams who live and work in their communities.

The idea is to provide development, building and maintenance services tailored to local needs. The company has a strategy of 25 per cent growth annually, split between organic growth and acquisitions.

Yesterday Rok said it was confident of another successful full year outcome after it reported a profit increase for the first half of 2006.

Pretax profit grew to £6.4 million from £5.7 million on revenue of £301 million, up from £239 million.

The interim dividend was raised 15 per cent to 4.3p from 3.75p.

During the half-year, the group made progress in all three divisions: building, maintenance and development.

Chairman Stephen Pettit said the continuing success of the development business has been complemented by organic revenue and profit growth in building and maintenance. Mr Pettit said cash generation has been strong.

He said: "We are confident of another successful outcome for the full year."

The company said demand for development, building and maintenance services remained strong from public and private sectors "with no sign" of abatement.

He believed the building sector would consolidate strongly over the next few years "providing further opportunities to expand the Rok footprint".

The Kingfisher acquisition will see Rok paying £1.1 million in shares and £3.4 million in cash, of which £1 million is deferred pending the achievement of results for the 2006 year end.

Funding for the cash element is from existing facilities.

The two Kingfisher shareholders are Peter Davies, a former Bovis executive, and his wife Valerie.

In the year ended December 31 Kingfisher reported pretax profits of £0.9 million.

Founded in 1994, Kingfisher employs more than 50 people and installs 55 kitchens and 25 bathrooms a week.

Rok said the quality of service and effectiveness of Kingfisher were "highly regarded locally" and would complement planned UK maintenance businesses.