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Willis Group Reports Fourth Quarter 2012 Results

Stocks in this article: WSH

Total commissions and fees for Willis Group were $867 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 7.0% from $810 million in the prior year quarter. The impact from foreign currency movements amounted to negative 0.5% during the quarter compared to the prior year period. Excluding this foreign exchange impact, organic commissions and fees increased 7.5% in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Investment income for Willis Group declined to $4 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, from $8 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 due to lower net yields on cash and cash equivalents.

Willis North America Segment

The North America segment reported 4.7% commissions and fees growth in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, reflecting a negative 0.3% impact from foreign currency movements and 5.0% organic commissions and fees growth. Part of that growth, however, is attributable to the previously disclosed $6 million of commissions and fees from a North America business unit that were improperly recorded during 2011 and reversed in the fourth quarter of 2011. Excluding that revenue reversal, organic growth in North America was 3.1%.

Underlying growth in commissions and fees in the fourth quarter of 2012 was recorded across all North America geographic regions, and a number of the segment’s industry practices. Notable among these results was the construction business, which recorded low single-digit growth, largely driven by strong project business and growth in Surety.

As noted above, the Company completed its annual goodwill impairment testing and, as a result, recorded a non-cash impairment charge related to goodwill in the North America segment of $492 million, pre-tax. The charge is reported within “Corporate and Other” in the segment information note 7 of the supplemental financial information.

Willis International Segment

The International segment reported a 6.4% increase in commissions and fees in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011, reflecting a negative 1.0% impact from foreign currency movements and 7.4% organic growth.

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