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WTW earnings boosted by business sale

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Willis Towers Watson earnings jumped in the first quarter after it completed the sale of its Miller wholesale insurance broking business.

Total revenue rose 5% to $US2.6 billion ($3.4 billion) while net income increased to $US733 million ($950 million) from $US305 million ($395 million).

CEO John Haley says the company had “an encouraging start to the year” and delivered revenue growth and meaningful margin expansion.

“During the first quarter, we continued to build momentum toward closing the transaction with Aon and made significant progress in our integration planning efforts,” he told a results briefing.

Income from operations rose 26% to $US452 million ($586 million) in the quarter while the operating margin increased 2.9 percentage points to 17.5%.

Willis Towers Watson says the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on revenue growth, particularly in businesses that are “discretionary in nature” but did not have a material impact overall.

“The extent to which COVID-19 continues to impact our business and financial position will depend on future developments, which are difficult to predict,” it says. “We continue to expect that the COVID-19 pandemic will negatively impact our revenue and operating results for 2021.”