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Willis Group Reports Fourth Quarter 2012 Results

Stocks in this article: WSH

Salaries and benefits in the fourth quarter of 2011 included $36 million related to the 2011 Operational Review. Excluding the impact of the 2011 Operational Review charge, fourth quarter 2011 salaries and benefits were $474 million, or 57.9% of revenues.

Reported other operating expenses were $150 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, down 22.7% from $194 million recorded in the fourth quarter of 2011. Foreign currency movements favorably impacted fourth quarter 2012 other operating expenses by $4 million.

Other operating expenses in the fourth quarter of 2012 include the benefit of a $5 million insurance recovery. Other operating expenses in the fourth quarter 2011 included $14 million of costs associated with the 2011 Operational Review and $22 million related to the write-off of uncollectable accounts receivable. Adjusted for the items mentioned above, other operating expenses as a percentage of revenues were 17.8% in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to 19.3% in the year ago quarter.

Operating Margin

Reported operating margin for Willis Group was (89.0)% for the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with 9.9% for the same period of 2011. Adjusted operating margin, excluding the items discussed above and as detailed in note 4 of the supplemental financial information, was 19.1% for the quarter ended December 31, 2012, compared with 18.7% a year ago. The margin expansion was driven primarily by higher commissions and fees and a reduction in other operating expenses, partially offset by higher salaries and benefits expense and lower investment income.

Twelve Months 2012 Financial Results

Reported net loss from continuing operations for the year ended December 31, 2012 was $(446) million, or $(2.58) per share, compared with reported net income of $203 million, or $1.15 per diluted share, in 2011. Reported net loss in 2012 and reported net income in 2011 were impacted by certain items, as detailed in note 5 of the supplemental financial information.

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