Willis M&A concentrate on small, non & # 39; transformational & # 39 ;: Incoming CEO – Enterprise Insurance

Willis Towers Watson PLC will seek out small mergers and acquisitions to strengthen its capabilities and expand its geographic footprint, but a large-scale deal is unlikely, President and future CEO Carl Hess reiterated on Friday.

Willis expects to generate $ 5 billion to $ 6 billion in free cash flow by 2024, primarily used for share buybacks and investment opportunities "when there is great potential for returns," Hess said.

Mr. Hess spoke at the 45th Nasdaq Investor Conference, which was held virtually.

Willis has already bought back shares totaling 1 billion, Mr. Hess said.

"As far as M&A is concerned, we will pursue small tuck-ins … We see opportunities there and continue to examine them … but we do not expect any major transformation acquisitions," said Hess.

As an example, he cited Leaderim, the Israeli brokerage and risk advisory firm that Willis had finally acquired in November.

On his investor day, Willis said that free cash flow of $ 5 billion to $ 6 billion, along with the after-tax proceeds from the Willis Re divestment and cash on hand, would bring the company $ 10 billion to $ 11 billion in cash by 2024.

The company also plans to grow sales to $ 10 billion, achieve cost savings of $ 300 million, and increase margins by 25% by 2024.

Mr. Hess answered questions from Michael Phillips, a property / casualty insurance analyst at Morgan Stanley.

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