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Willis Towers Inks Deal to Acquire PE Corporate Services

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Willis Towers Watson WLTW has entered into an agreement to buy out PE Corporate Services (“PECS”). The details of the transaction have been kept under wraps. The acquisition is expected to be completed before the end of the first quarter of 2020.

Founded in 1949, PECS has emerged as a leading human resource service provider in South Africa. Its portfolio includes management consulting, training and related professional services, which enhance the performance of an organization. The company strives to achieve standards of professional excellence, thus aiding clients in producing effective results.

With offices in Johannesburg and Durban, PECS provides a range of services related to salary surveys, remuneration advisory services and learning and development in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

The salary surveys of PECS provide current market related pay and benefits data for more than 800 positions at all organizational levels across virtually every sector of the South African economy. Data for Sub-Saharan African countries is sourced and managed in association with Willis Towers Watson.

Since 2014, PECS and Willis Towers Watson South Africa have been strategic partners. The recent acquisition indicates the strategic vision of Willis Towers Watson to strengthen its position in Africa. The acquisition is a strategic fit as it will help build up human capital, improve the capabilities of Willis Towers Watson South Africa and enable Willis Towers to focus provide its global talent and reward solutions to clients in South Africa and across the continent.

As far as PECS is concerned, the acquisition will enable it to meet the growing demand of multi-national clients in Africa.

Willis Towers Watson is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company. Its acquisitions have helped the company to foray into new markets and expand presence in countries like Italy, Canada, the U.K. and France. Its buyouts have also broadened its product portfolio. Organic growth across segments and significant synergies from acquisitions has contributed to commissions and fees and in turn revenues.

Shares of the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) insurer have rallied 28.1% year to date, underperforming the industry’s rally of 34.8%. Nonetheless, the company’s operational efficiencies, investment in new growth avenues and effective capital deployment is likely to continue driving the stock.

Recently, there have been a number of acquisitions in the insurance industry, given the significant capital available. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. AJG acquired New South Wales-based Blueleaf Consulting Pty Ltd.

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks from the same space are Fanhua Incorporation (FANH - Free Report) and Erie Indemnity Company ERIE. While Fanhua sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Erie Indemnity carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Fanhua distributes insurance products in China and provides property and casualty insurance products and life insurance products as well as participating insurance products. The company beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four reported quarters, the average beat being 13.44%.

Erie Indemnity provides sales, underwriting, and policy issuance services on behalf of the Erie Insurance Exchange.  The company beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four reported quarters, the average beat being 4.90%.

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