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Willis Group Reports Fourth Quarter 2012 Results

Stocks in this article: WSH

“In the fourth quarter, Willis undertook a series of steps to pave the way forward for our company and our shareholders. Those actions are reflected in our reported results,” said Dominic Casserley, CEO of Willis Group Holdings. “With these actions behind us, and a quarter that resulted in significantly improved revenue growth in our segments, particularly the turnaround in Willis North America, we are encouraged by what lies ahead. We are laying a strong foundation at Willis, defined by the service we offer our clients and the manner in which we run our business, exemplified by the $524 million of cash flow we generated in 2012, an improvement of $85 million over the previous year,” Casserley added.

Fourth Quarter 2012 Financial Results

Willis Group reported a net loss from continuing operations of $(804) million, or $(4.65) per share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2012, compared with reported net income of $24 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, in the same period a year ago. The quarter’s results were negatively impacted by charges of $492 million related to the goodwill impairment in North America; $200 million related to the write-off of unamortized cash retention awards; $252 million related to the accrual of 2012 cash bonuses; and a $113 million tax charge to establish a deferred tax asset valuation allowance. The valuation allowance is related to the North America segment and is directly associated with the recording of the goodwill impairment and cash retention charges.

Reported net income in the fourth quarter of 2011 was reduced by a $50 million charge related to the 2011 Operational Review and $22 million related to the write-off of uncollectable accounts receivable.

Excluding the after-tax impact of the charges discussed in this release, adjusted net income from continuing operations was $79 million, or $0.45 per diluted share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2012, compared with $79 million, or $0.45 per diluted share, in the same period a year ago. The fourth quarter 2012 adjusted earnings per diluted share were negatively impacted by higher taxes primarily caused by cumulative tax adjustments related to a change in the geographic mix of income and higher estimated state tax costs that were recorded in the current quarter. Foreign currency movements increased earnings by $0.01 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the fourth quarter of 2011.

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