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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- First-half revenues for Forbes Group Ltd. rose 49% to 457.1 million rand ($98 million) from the same period a year earlier, partly reflecting its acquisition of London broker Nelson Hurst P.L.C.

Net income for the Johannesburg, South Africa-based broker and consultant over the six months ending Sept. 30 shot up by 58.8% to 71.8 million rand ($15.4 million).

Forbes Group's six-month results include only two months of Nelson Hurst, but on a pro-forma basis, the acquisition will catapult Forbes into the ranks of the world's 10 largest insurance brokers (BI, July 21).

Forbes Group's figures also were strengthened by domestic growth.

Benefit consultant Alexander Forbes "continues to expand at a highly satisfactory rate and contributed to the overall growth of the group," said Paul Heinamann, Forbes' chief executive officer. Consulting business grew 56% to 123 million rand ($26.4 million).

Forbes also had a 42% rise in its retail brokerage and risk management practice. "Business retention, coupled with good new business gains, has contributed to this growth," which the inclusion of Nelson Hurst enhanced, he said.

Although rates are in a "continuing slide," Mr. Heinamann said he is confident of continued growth in the brokerage and consulting sector.

He added that reinsurance brokerage revenues rose 113% because of the Nelson Hurst acquisition, which was completed in August.

As well as expanding its operations in Asia, Latin America and the United Kingdom through Nelson Hurst, Forbes also grew its African network of offices by acquiring 51% of Malawi Insurance Brokers in Blantyre, Malawi, in July.