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Willis Group Holdings plc (WSH): New Analyst Report from Zacks Equity Research - Zacks Equity Research Report

Posted: 12/13/2013 7:00:00 AM
Referenced Stocks: WSH

Willis Group surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and improved year over year on higher revenues in its fourth quarter. Top line improved on higher commissions and fees. The quarter benefitted from mid-single digit organic growth in commissions and fees and the impact of recent acquisitions. Costs savings from Operational Improvement Program also added to the upside. The company also witnessed modest growth in reinsurance. Most of the segments continue to deliver organic growth. Its Operational Improvement Program through 2017, besides costs savings will help in realizing operational efficiencies, invest in new growth avenues and strengthen its client services. On the strength of its solid operations, the board of directors hiked dividend by 3.3% and targets $175 million share repurchase for 2015. Its inorganic developments were impressive following the strategic acquisitions. The company expects mid-single-digit organic revenue growth in 2015. With solid retention levels and new business growth, we expect the company to sustain its momentum.


Willis Group Holdings plc (WSH) and its subsidiaries provide a broad range of insurance brokerage, reinsurance and risk management consulting services to its worldwide clients, both directly and through its associates. The company provides specialized risk management advisory and consulting services to clients engaged in specific industrial and commercial activities as well as retail services to small, medium and major corporate houses.

In its capacity as an advisor and insurance broker, the company acts as an intermediary between clients and insurance carriers by advising clients on risk management requirements, helping them determine the best means of managing risk and negotiating and placing insurance risk with insurance carriers through the company's global distribution network.

On Sep 24, 2009, Willis Group Holdings was incorporated in Ireland in order to effectuate the change of the place of incorporation of the Group's parent company. The company operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Willis-Bermuda until Dec 31, 2009. Later the outstanding common shares of Willis-Bermuda were cancelled and Willis Group Holdings issued ordinary shares with the same rights and preferences on a one-for-one basis to the holders of the Willis-Bermuda common shares. Upon completion of this transaction, Willis Group Holdings replaced Willis-Bermuda as the ultimate parent company and Willis-Bermuda became a wholly owned subsidiary of Willis Group Holdings.

Willis Group operates through three segments: Global, North America and International. The Global segment (accounted for 32% of operating revenues in 2012) provides specialist brokerage and consulting services to clients worldwide for specific industrial and commercial activities and is organized by specialism. The North American segment (38%) and the International segment (30%) predominantly comprise retail operations that provide services to small, medium and major corporations, accessing Global's specialist expertise when required.

Willis has more than 400 offices in 120 countries, with approximately 21,700 employees.

As of Sep 30, 2014, the company had $15.2 billion (down 0.8% year over year) in total assets, $2.1 billion (down 7.2% year over year) in long-term debt and $2.3 billion (up 11.6% year over year) in shareholder equity.

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