Willis blames fall on impact of the recession

Willis Ireland's profits fell more than 90% last year as result of the "tough recessionary environment", the Irish Independent reports.

The profit plunge was revealed in accounts filed for Willis Risk Services Holdings (Ireland), the Irish arm of global broker Willis Group, which decided to redomicile from Bermuda to Dublin last year.

Willis Ireland's revenue was down about 25% to €32.9m and pretax profits fell more than 90% to €857,000.

It compares to 2008 when turnover rose marginally at €44m, while pretax earnings increased slightly to €13m.

"It [2009] was a difficult year for the group as it faced a tough recessionary environment that impacted all areas of its operations," the directors said.

They added, however, that the group had "nevertheless" managed to remain profitable.

The latest filings also hint at staff cuts and pay cuts in 2009, as headcount fell from 297 to 280, while average costs fell from €70,700 to just under €63,000.

Irish bailout

Meanwhile, an €85bn EU-IMF bailout package for Ireland was agreed last night.

The UK is contributing a direct loan to Ireland of £3.2bn (€3.84bn).