Company laid off 350 staff, costing $24m

Willis bucked the recession this week, reporting growth in net income to $78m (£47.7m) for the third quarter of 2009, compared with $36m for the same quarter last year.

But it suffered a 3% decline in commissions and fees in North America.

For the third quarter, reported earnings per diluted share were 46c; for the nine months ended September 2009, they were $2.13. The reported operating margin for the nine months was 21.4%.

Willis laid off 350 staff over the nine months, at a cost of $24m, its results revealed.

Chairman and global chief executive Joe Plumeri said: “Willis continues to maintain its growth in spite of the difficult economy and soft market conditions – a tribute to the strength of our diverse global business. We continue to get strong contributions from each segment, despite the marketplace challenges we face, which are especially pronounced in the US, UK and Ireland.”