HRH takeover was 'transformational'

The HRH acquisition helped Willis boost net income 44% in 2009, leading boss Joe Plumeri to describe it as a “momentous year”.

Willis reported net income of $436m (£278.8m) compared with $302m in 2008, while revenue rose from $2.8bn to $3.3bn. Organic growth in commissions and fees was 2%.

Plumeri said the HRH acquisition in 2008 and subsequent integration – which cost the company $2.1bn – was “transformational”.

It was the largest broking takeover of the decade.

He said: “2009 was a momentous year. We began in the midst of integrating our HRH acquisition, facing a difficult global economy and soft insurance market.

“We responded with 2% organic growth in commissions and fees, disciplined expense management, successful merger integration, completion of the Gras Savoye transaction and a much stronger balance sheet.”