Profits boost for global broker

GLOBAL insurance broker Willis has reported a jump in profits for the final quarter of 2006, and for the year as a whole.

GLOBAL insurance broker Willis has reported a jump in profits for the final quarter of 2006, and for the year as a whole.

The New York-quoted group, which includes major offices in London and Ipswich in the UK, achieved net income of US$148million (£75.1million) for last three months of last year, up from US$55million during the same period in 2005.

That figure resulted in net income for the year to December 31 of US$449 (£227.8million) compared with US$281million for 2005.

Last year's figures included one-off gains on the sale of the company's London headquarters and the disposal of some operations and exceptional costs relating to the group's “Shaping Our Future” strategy initiative, severance costs and regulatory settlements.


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Excluding these items, adjusted net income was US$426million (£216.3million) against a comparable figure of US$309million for 2005.

Revenues for the year totalled US$2.428billion (£1.2billion), up 7% from US$2.267billion in 2005. Organic growth in commissions and fees was 8%.

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The operating margin, on both a reported and adjusted basis was 22.7%, with the gain on the London property sale being balanced by the Shaping Our Future expenses.

Joe Plumeri, group chairman and chief executive, said: “Our results for 2006 were just what we said they would be: our organic revenue growth was strong, our operating margin expanded and our salaries and benefits to revenues decreased.

“In addition, earnings per share grew more than 18% for the year, excluding certain adjustments. We remain committed to executing the Shaping Our Future strategy because this focus has already served us well.”

A final quarter dividend of US$0.25 per share makes an annual rate of US$1.00 per share.

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