Aon Corp. shares dropped 30 percent Aug. 7 after the broker posted lower-than-expected second-quarter results and announced the possible impact of its accounting talks with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Chicago-based company also said the pending spin-off of its insurance underwriting operations, Combined Specialty Group Inc., will be delayed due to current market conditions. For the second quarter, Aon broke even, compared with net income of $29 million, or 11 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue climbed 11 percent to $2.12 billion from $1.92 billion a year earlier. The latest results included a charge of $3 million, or a penny a share, for spin-off costs and a gain of $6 million, or a penny a share, related to its business transformation plan. Aon also recorded a pretax adjustment of $56 million, or 13 cents a share, in its non-operating corporate and other segment revenue. The company has been working with the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding a comment letter on its annual financial report and first- quarter report, as well as a Form 10 filing for the spin-off of its Combined Specialty Group unit. Although Aon said it hasn’t reached an agreement to date on all the questions raised by the SEC, the adjustment reflects the non-cash cumulative pretax earnings impact of other than temporary impairment losses for certain investments for the years ended 1999 and 2000, and for the first quarter ended March 31. Aon expects 2002 earnings to exceed $1.80 a share, excluding certain items. Concerning the delay of the Combined Specialty Group spin-off, Aon said it is looking at other alternatives, including a possible sale or partial spin-off.
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