EUROPE – Consulting firm Jardine Lloyd Thompson says it has looked at possible acquisitions in the employee benefits industry in the UK.

“It remains our objective to grow our UK EB business substantially,” the firm said. “Although we remain interested in making acquisitions, and have examined a number of possibilities, any proposal must represent true value to JLT.

Revenue at the unit rose one percent in the first half to 39 million pounds (59 million euros), with UK revenues up eight percent. The firm said: “We expect that this revenue growth will accelerate in the second half.”

Pre-tax profit at the employee benefits arm was 4.9 million pounds, a 22.5% increase from 4.0 million pounds a year ago.

“We are well positioned in what is an evolving market, providing pensions advisory services and administration skills and will continue to remain alert to new opportunities to achieve our strategic objectives,” said chairman Ken Carter.

“The new business already achieved and in the pipeline should fuel double-digit growth this year and provides a strong foundation for the future.”

New contract wins included a deal with Friends Provident – its largest deal to date, with anticipated annual revenues “in excess of three million pounds”.

He added: “Work continues on developing new income streams for this business including the development of administrative and claims services.”

Overall, the firm – which makes the bulk of its revenue from insurance broking – said pre-tax profit for the first half slipped 0.8% to 63.8 million pounds. Turnover was up eight percent at 243.1 million pounds.

“We have invested significantly and see continued opportunities to strengthen our position in the markets in which we trade and view the future with confidence,” said chief executive Steve McGill.