Willis Reports Q3 Results; Fees, Commissions up 28%; Conf. Call Today

October 27, 2009

Willis Group Holdings Limited has reported strong results for the third quarter of 2009 and the first nine months ended September 30, 2009.

Highlights of the quarter ended September 30 included the following:
— Reported earnings per diluted share from continuing operations of $0.46; adjusted earnings per diluted share from continuing operations of $0.53
— 28 percent reported growth in commissions and fees compared with third quarter of 2008
— 2 percent organic growth in commissions and fees: Global and International segments with 4 percent and 3 percent growth, respectively; North America decline of 3 percent improved from second quarter of 2009
— North America segment operating margin expansion of 1,140 basis points over a year ago
– Outlook raised to Stable by both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s
— Issued $300 million of senior unsecured notes due 2019 at 7.0 percent; repurchased $160 million of 5.125 percent senior notes due July 2010

Highlights for the nine months ended September 30, 2009 were listed as follows:
— Reported earnings per diluted share from continuing operations of $2.13; adjusted earnings per diluted share from continuing operations of $2.21
— 2 percent organic growth in commissions and fees over the comparable prior year; Global and International segments each with 5 percent growth
— Reported operating margin of 21.4 percent; adjusted operating margin of 22.1 percent
— North America segment operating margin expansion of 970 basis points over prior year

Chairman and CEO Joe Plumeri commented: “Willis continues to maintain its growth momentum in spite of the difficult global economy and soft market conditions – and that’s a tribute to the strength of our diverse global business.

We continue to get strong contributions from each segment, despite the marketplace challenges we face, which are especially pronounced in the US, UK and Ireland. We continue to run the company with discipline and foresight, implementing strict cost controls, right sizing for the current environment, and investing in areas that will drive current and future growth.”

Willis reported that its net income from continuing operations for the third quarter was $78 million, or $0.46 per diluted share, compared with $36 million, or $0.25 per diluted share, in the same period a year ago. “Reported net income for the third quarters of 2009 and 2008 was affected by certain items, including the acquisition of Hilb Rogal & Hobbs Company (HRH),” the bulletin noted.

Total reported revenues for the quarter were $725 million compared with $579 million for the same period last year, an increase of 25 percent. The increase, however, “was primarily due to the HRH acquisition,” said Willis.

Reported net income from continuing operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2009 was $357 million, or $2.13 per diluted share, compared with $241 million, or $1.70 per diluted share, in the same period a year ago.

Willis explained that “reported net income for the first nine months of 2009 and 2008 was affected by certain items, including the acquisition of HRH and 2008 expense review charges for severance and other costs.”

Total reported revenues for the nine months ended September 30, 2009 were $2.439 billion compared with $2.035 billion for the same period last year, an increase of 20 percent, which reflects the HRH acquisition.

The full report is available on the Company’s web site at: www.willis.com.

Willis will hold a conference call to discuss the third quarter 2009 results today October 27, at 8:00 A.M. Eastern Time. To participate in the live teleconference, dial (866) 803-2143 (domestic) or +1 (210) 795-1098 (international) with a pass code of “Willis”. The live audio web cast (which will be listen-only) may be accessed on the web site.

The call will be available by replay starting at approximately 10:00 AM Eastern Time, through November 27, 2009 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time, by calling (877) 611-5293 (domestic) or +1 (203) 369-4862 (international) with no pass code, or by accessing the web site.

Source: Willis Group Holdings

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