Back to top

Image: Bigstock

Willis Towers (WLTW) to Strengthen Israel Presence With Buyout

Read MoreHide Full Article

Willis Towers Watson plc (WLTW - Free Report) has inked an initial, non-binding agreement to acquire Leaderim. This marks its efforts to strengthen its presence in Israel.

Boasting one of the leading insurance brokers in Israel, Leaderim has been in operations for more than two decades, providing a broad range of commercial insurance solutions in Israel. It also creates multinational risk programs for global companies operating in Israel. Thus, the addition of Leaderim will help the acquirer grow in the Middle East, thus expanding global operations.

Pamela Thomson-Hall, Head of Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at Willis Towers Watson stated, “We are focused on investing in high quality businesses, exceptional talent and thriving markets, and our agreement with Leaderim reflects that strategy.”

Willis Towers has already been operating in Israel for many years through a correspondent partner. The acquirer also serves other Middle East countries including Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Willis Towers' strategic acquisitions have expanded its geographical footprint in the last few years in countries like Italy, Canada, the U.K. and France as well as ramped up product portfolio.  Willis Towers that was formed with the merger of Willis Group and Towers Watson in January 2016 is a testimony of its efforts to pursue strategic opportunities that will ramp up its growth profile by combining forces and leverage strengths.

Post the fallout of the merger between Willis Towers and Aon plc (AON - Free Report) last month, this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) insurance broker, on its earnings call, announced that it will continue to invest in both organic and inorganic growth opportunities across its whole portfolio of businesses, both brokerage and consulting. Hence, this endeavor is in tandem with its growth strategy.

Shares of Willis Towers Watson have gained 2.7% year to date, underperforming the industry's increase of 8.1%. Focus on realizing operational efficiencies, investment in new growth avenues, and solid customer retention will help it outperform its industry.

Zacks Investment Research
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

Given insurance industry’s adequate capital level, players are pursuing strategic mergers and acquisitions. Recently, Brown & Brown’s (BRO - Free Report) subsidiary Brown & Brown of Massachusetts, LLC has agreed to buy assets and operations of Berkshire Insurance Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (BHLB - Free Report) .

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.