Willis Group Reports First Quarter 2012 Results

Willis Group Holdings plc (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance broker, today reported results for the quarter ended March 31, 2012.

Highlights of the quarter ended March 31, 2012 include:
  • Reported earnings per diluted share from continuing operations of $1.28 compared to $0.20 in first quarter of 2011; adjusted earnings per diluted share from continuing operations of $1.32 compared to $1.29 in year ago quarter;
  • Reported commissions and fees increased 1% compared with the first quarter of 2011;
  • Organic growth in commissions and fees of 2%; 3% excluding Loan Protector results;
  • Reported operating margin of 31.3% compared to 23.7% in first quarter of 2011; adjusted operating margin of 32.6% compared to 33.0% in year ago quarter;
  • Launched $100 million share repurchase plan.

“Across Willis Group, we generated two percent organic growth in the quarter with only minimal rate tailwind,” said Joe Plumeri, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Willis Group Holdings. “Growth at Willis this quarter was led by the Global segment, which continues to do very well. The International segment reported strong results despite uneven economic conditions in many of the larger markets in which we operate. And the North America segment also provided positive organic growth, excluding the results from our Loan Protector unit, helped by retention that is returning to normal levels. Across the board, our associates around the world are squarely focused on growing the business – and their efforts are reflected in this quarter’s results,” Plumeri added.

First Quarter 2012 Financial Results

Reported net income from continuing operations for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 was $225 million, or $1.28 per diluted share, compared with $35 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, in the same period a year ago. Reported net income in the first quarter of 2012 was impacted by a $13 million charge for write-off of uncollectible accounts receivable together with associated legal fees related to previously disclosed fraudulent activity in a stand-alone North American business. Reported net income in the first quarter of 2011 was impacted by a $97 million charge related to the 2011 operational review, $171 million make-whole amounts related to the repurchase and redemption of Senior Notes and write-off of unamortized debt issuance costs, and a $4 million gain on disposal of operations.

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