Centros Properties and Miller Developments are ready to team up on a permanent basis with the extension of their five-year joint venture into a private company and investment arm.

Centros Miller is drawing up a business plan to expand the company's development portfolio from £300m to more than £400m over the next five years.

Centros Miller is planning to take on much bigger projects in an attempt to increase profits and maximise resources. In addition, it hopes to recruit more staff to nearly double its existing team.

The new company will be named Centros Miller Ltd.

John Wheeler of Centros is hoping to set up Centros Miller Investments Ltd within the next month – ahead of the proposed reorientation of the company. Centros Miller estimates that the investment company will initially hold £10m worth of assets, but this could expand as the company sees the investment arm as a key strategic tool for the future.

Miller Developments director Andrew Sutherland said: 'Centros Miller is creating its own identity at the moment and we hope to capitalise on that and drive the company forward.' The developer plans to be on site on seven of its 11 projects this year.

Funding is in place for the first phases of schemes in Chesterfield, Kidderminster, Barry, and Byker. A £50m retail and leisure scheme in Islington is next in line, with an estimated completion date of Easter 2001.

Centros Miller has kick-started its £39m redevelopment at Kidderminster with the news that Tesco will take 7,061 sq m (76,000 sq ft) as the anchor store. Tesco is intending to fund the store itself, with an estimated £12m cash injection to build the first phase of the scheme.