Increased client retention and a firming of premium rates helped global insurance broker Willis to achieve an 11% increase in its revenues to £508m, adjusted for currency fluctuations, for the six months to June 30, 2001.

Profits were also up sharply – margins doubled to 18% compared to one year ago, as net income reached £52m for the first half of 2001.

Willis chief executive and chairman Joe Plumeri said the company was planning to make a number of acquisitions in the near future and was specifically targeting insurance brokerages: “Our stated goal is to make acquisitions, but only where they make sense.”

He added the UK market continued to contribute a large margin of its revenue.

Despite early signs of a possible economic downturn, Plumeri didn't fear a potential recession. He said his company had performed strongly because it had achieved a better focus on its sales strategy.

Willis also stated in its results that its cash flow was now sufficient to cover its normal financing needs following its successful share placing in June. The company sold 23 million shares in a public offering and used the £201m proceeds to repay all the £195m preference shares it had outstanding.