Towers Watson & Co. ( TW)

F1Q2012 Earnings Call

November 7, 2011 9:00 a.m. ET


John Haley - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Roger Millay - Vice President and Chief Financial Officer


Jeffrey Volshteyn - JPMorgan

Sara Gubins - Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Paul Ginocchio - Deutsche Bank

Timothy McHugh - William Blair & Company

Julio Quinteros - Goldman Sachs

Tobey Sommer - SunTrust Robinson Humphrey

Mark Marcon - Robert W. Baird

Shlomo Rosenbaum - Stifel, Nicolaus & Company

Ashwin Shirvaikar - Citigroup



Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the First Quarter 2012 Towers Watson & Co. Earnings Conference Call. My name is Santaly and I will be your facilitator for today’s call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. We will be facilitating a question-and-answer session towards the end of this conference. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded for replay purposes.

I would now like to turn the presentation over to your host for today’s call, Mr. Roger Millay, Chief Financial Officer. Please proceed, sir.

Roger Millay

Thank you. Good morning. This is Roger Millay. Welcome to the Towers Watson earnings call. I’m here today with John Haley, Towers Watson’s Chief Executive Officer.

Please refer to our website for this morning’s press release. Today’s call is being recorded and will be available for replay via telephone for the next week by dialing 617-801-6888; confirmation number, 18511771. The replay will also be available for the next three months on our website.

Our website also contains a few slides that are complementary to today’s call. Those slides include certain reconciliation information required by SEC Regulation G. This conference call may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, including statements, among others, regarding expected financial and operating performance. Any statements made during this call that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements.

You are cautioned that these statements may be affected by the important factors set forth in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and in today’s press release, and that consequently actual operations and results may differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements.

The company undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by federal securities laws. After our prepared remarks, we will open the conference call for your questions.

Now, I’ll turn the call over to John Haley.

John Haley

Thanks, Roger. Good morning, everyone and thank you for joining us. Today we will review our results for the first quarter of 2012 and our guidance for the full fiscal year. We are pleased with our results this quarter as we continued to produce growth and maintain our strong margins. Reported revenues for the quarter were $810 million, an increase of 8% over prior year reported revenues and an increase of 5% on a constant currency basis.

Our organic growth rate, which adjusts for changes in foreign currency exchange rates, acquisitions and divestitures, was 2% for the quarter. Our adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $162 million, up 23% from last year and our adjusted EBITDA margin for the quarter was 20%. For the quarter, diluted earnings per share were $0.82 and our adjusted diluted earnings per share were $1.19.

Adjusted diluted earnings per share increased 29% over the prior year. Adjusted diluted earnings per share include a normalized income tax rate and exclude non-recurring other income, transaction and integration cost, non-cash stock-based compensation costs from restricted shares issued in conjunction with the merger, and the amortization of merger accounting intangible assets.

Our results reflect the excellent work of our associates. They are striking the right balance between managing cost and growing the business. Consequently, we are well positioned and prepared for long-term profitable growth. We are the trusted advisor to many of our clients, and in this complicated environment we can offer them practical actionable solutions and advise.

We just held our annual client conference in Chicago, where we hosted over 300 of our clients. This event is highly rated by our clients every year as we showcase some of our best consulting work, offer clients the opportunity to network with each other and hear about best practices and creative ideas. It is just one example of how we live our value of clients first.

I think our results reflect the nature of our client relationships and the client first attitude. We remain focused on profitable growth, investing for the future and ensuring we are well positioned to take advantage of market opportunities. Now let's take a look at the performance of each of our segments.

In the face of continued economic uncertainty and in some cases legislative changes, many clients are reviewing their benefit plans to ensure that they are as efficient as possible, and that the plans are communicated effectively to employees. We see this particularly in the Benefits and Talent and Rewards segments.

All of our segments grew organically this quarter. Benefits grew 2%, Risk and Financial Services 3% and Talent and Rewards grew 2%. Our revenue growth reflects wins from both new and existing clients.

Turning to Benefits. For the quarter, the Benefits segment had revenues of $455 million, including the revenues from Aliquant, which we acquired in late December 2010. Benefits segment revenues were 4% on a constant currency basis. On an organic basis, revenues were up 2%. Retirement, technology and administration solutions and health and group benefits all grew this quarter. Retirement revenues increased 2% on a constant currency basis and were led by growth in North America.

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