Human resources outsourcing firm

Hewitt Associates

(HEW)

posted a rise in fourth-quarter profit, thanks in part to the company's consulting businesses.

The company earned $14.5 million, or 15 cents a share. Hewitt said there were no comparable figures for the year-earlier quarter because the company didn't operate under a corporate structure in 2001. The company completed its initial public offering in June.

Excluding certain items, the company earned $30.9 million, or 31 cents a share. On a pro forma basis, the company earned $27 million, or 28 cents a share. Analysts were expecting the company to earn 26 cents a share, on average.

Revenue increased 26% to $473.3 million from $374.8 million in 2001. Outsourcing revenue increased 16% to $287.2 million from $248.1 million last year. Consulting revenue rose 15%.

In 2003, the company expects earnings to grow 20% on revenue growth of 15% to 18%.

Shares of Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Hewitt closed at $29.83 Thursday on the

New York Stock Exchange

.