UK – Consultancy firm Watson Wyatt says it is looking for acquisition opportunities – and that the outlook for 2004 is for continued growth.

“While growth of the business has been largely organic in nature, we continue to look for suitable opportunities for expansion by acquisition,” Watson Wyatt’s European arm, Watson Wyatt LLP, said in its new annual review.

A spokeswoman at Watson was not able to provide any further details of the firm’s plans.

In January this year the firm bought part of the former insurance consulting business of PricewaterhouseCoopers from computer firm IBM in the US.

“The prospects for 2004 are of continued growth,” the review said.

Watson Wyatt LLP saw its 2002 profit - before partners’ pay and profit share – rise 33% to 60 million pounds (85.2 million euros) from 45 million pounds a year earlier. Turnover rose 18% to 225 million pounds.

The rise in profit was due to “improved productivity and utilisation of resources and people” along with a rise in the number of partners. It said it was achieved despite escalating costs of professional indemnity insurance.

The firm’s 204 partners earned an average 314,000 pounds a year, the review says