Global broker Willis Group Holdings reported fourth quarter and full year revenues that were slightly less than those posted in 2006, even though gross revenues from commissions and fees were somewhat higher.
Net income for the quarter ended December 31, 2007 was $95 million, or $0.66 per diluted share, compared with $148 million, or $0.94 per diluted share, a year ago. Adjusted net income was $93 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, compared with adjusted net income of $157 million, or $1.00 per diluted share, for the same period last year.
Net income for the full year ended December 31, 2007 was $409 million, or $2.78 per diluted share, compared with $449 million, or $2.84 per diluted share a year ago. “The results for the year ended December 31, 2006 were considerably affected by a gain on the sale of the Company’s London headquarters and significant expenditure on 2006 Shaping our Future initiatives,” said the announcement.
“Excluding those items and net gains or losses on disposal of operations, adjusted net income for the year ended December 31, 2007 was $407 million compared with adjusted net income of $426 million a year ago, a decrease of 4 percent. Adjusted earnings per diluted share increased 3 percent to $2.77 for the year ended December 31, 2007, up from $2.70 a year ago.”
Willis also indicated that fourth quarter 2006 adjusted net income “benefited from a $71 million tax credit (equivalent to $0.45 per diluted share) primarily relating to the resolution of certain prior year tax matters. Excluding this credit, adjusted earnings per diluted share for the fourth quarter 2007 were $0.64 compared to $0.55 in the prior year, an increase of 16 percent. Foreign currency translation had a negative impact of $0.05 on earnings per diluted share for the quarter ended December 31, 2007 compared with the same period in 2006.”
Willis gross revenues from fees and commissions rose to $615 million in the fourth quarter of 2007, compared to $598 million in Q4 2006. For the full year they increased to $2.482 billion from $2.341 billion. Investment income also rose slightly, as did operating expenses.
“This year demonstrated that our ‘Shaping our Future’ strategy is working, with top line growth, adjusted operating margin expansion and improvement in adjusted earnings,” noted Chairman and CEO Joe Plumeri. “Our extensive network encompasses some of the world’s fastest growing regions, and the diversity of our business mix and targeted growth strategies position us well for continued success. The increased dividend approved today, and $1 billion buyback authorization approved in November 2007, reflect the continued confidence we have in the outlook for the Company.”
The full report and additional information is available on the Company’s web site at: www.willis.com.
Willis will host a conference call today, Thursday, February 7, 2008, at 8:00 AM Eastern Time to discuss the earnings results and business trends. Interested parties may access the conference call by calling (888) 566-5771 (domestic) or +1 (210) 839-8503 (international) with a passcode of “Willis.” Media and individuals will be in a listen-only mode. Participants are asked to call in a few minutes prior to the call in order to register for the event.
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