Profit soars at Marsh & McLennan

SHARES in giant insurance broker Marsh & McLennan jumped to their highest in a year yesterday after its fourth-quarter and full-year results.

Strong new business growth pushed the world’s second-biggest insurance broker to an $855m (£533m) profit in 2010, up from $227m in 2009 when it bore restructuring and settlement charges.

The broker, which owns management consultancy Oliver Wyman, reinsurance broker Guy Carpenter and consultancy Mercer, saw fourth-quarter profit hit $203m or $0.37 per share – up from $23m or $0.04 in the same period the previous year.

Full-year earnings per share rose to $1.55 from $0.42 in 2009.

It generated six per cent organic revenue growth in the quarter – higher than its key rivals Aon on three per cent and Willis on four per cent.

Analysts applauded the news and its shares rose more than five per cent on the news to $30.83.

Revenues grew to $2.8bn in the fourth-quarter and $10.6bn over the year.