EUROPE – Aon says its consulting revenue in the first quarter was boosted by good growth in Europe and the UK.

Aon said its consulting revenue rose 21% to 282 million dollars in the quarter. The rise was driven by “good growth” in Europe and the UK as well as new outsourcing business initiated in the third quarter of 2002.

Pre-tax income at the division fell to 20 million dollars from 27 million dollars a year ago – with the margin declining to 7.1% from 11.6%, due to higher central costs, a rise in lower margin business and increased pension costs.

Aon is a US-based holding company specialising in insurance brokerage, and underwriting and consulting.

It posted total consolidated revenues of 2.4 billion dollars, a 14% rise on the 2002 period. Overall net income slipped to 152 million dollars from 160 million dollars.

“We achieved double-digit organic revenue growth in our operating segments driven by continued client demand for our products and services,” said chairman and chief executive Patrick Ryan. He added that Aon’s fundamental businesses remain strong.