Apparel firm Marchpole is close to announcing another acquisition, said chairman Christopher Phillips, as the company announced a first-half profit increase.

"We are currently in negotiations for an acquisition which we hope to conclude in the very near future," Phillips said.

He added that the integration of Moda America has provided "a solid foundation to expand the business into the US".

Pre-tax profit totalled GBP4m in the interim compared to GBP1m (US$1.89m) the year before. Turnover was GBP38.6m compared to GBP14.9m last year.

Executive deputy chairman Michael Morris said: "During the last six months the evolution of the company from being a single-brand, single-country business into a diversified multi-brand and international business has continued in line with our strategy.

"We are delighted with the progress made in securing additional licence and distribution agreements for both JCC and Emanuel Ungaro, and also the acquisition of the luxury brand Homebody."

He added: "I am also delighted that the dispute with Bespoke Couture and Ozwald Boateng has been successfully resolved, and with costs awarded in our favour.

"We are confident that the company is in a strong position to continue its growth both through further licensing agreements and acquisitions."