Chorion said that it had set aside £15m to expand its Tiger Tiger chain this year.

It has identified several sites in Madrid as well as one in Dublin.

The company has already exchanged contracts on two new bars in London: the Rock on the Embankment and Mondos in Greek Street, Soho, with both sites expected to open this summer.

It is also looking at two smaller sites in Birmingham.

Chorion saw turnover at its bars and nightclubs division rise by 67% in 2001, beating the 45% increase in group turnover.

The group bucked recent trends in falling income from central London venues, and credited its West End operations for the rise in turnover to £43.4m, which contributed to group pre-tax profit before one-off costs of £13.23m.

The group's chairman, John Conlan, said: "The bar nightclubs business continues to grow at an exceptional pace. Last year's impressive results in more challenging market conditions underline the strength, quality and potential of our operating formats and brands. A strong development pipeline is established and the prospects for the future are excellent."

The intellectual property and bar nightclub businesses are on course to demerge by the end of May. Conlan said: "Both businesses delivered to plan and are now ready and prepared to prosper and grow as separately listed companies following the demerger, which is now imminent."

The group's intellectual property division's profit before tax and other costs increased by 11% to £5.3m. Over the year, Chorion acquired the Georges Simenon portfolio including Maigret and the rebranding of Agatha Christie books increased UK sales by 20%.