Willis results top forecasts

WORLD top three insurance broker Willis saw its net profits hit $455m (£283m) or $2.66 a share in 2010, up four per cent from the $436m, or $2.58 a share, made in 2009.

Fourth-quarter profits beat expectations, rising 24 per cent to $98m or 57 cents a share, up from $79m or 47 cents a share in 2009. Analysts had forecast 54 cents a share profit.

Annual revenues rose two per cent to $3.34bn as fee and commission income rose six per cent in all business units apart from its North American operations, which remained flat both in the fourth quarter and in the year overall.

Growth drivers were reinsurance broking, which saw double-digit growth; energy, aerospace and marine insurance; and Latin American and Asian markets.

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