Willis Towers Watson, Q1 2019: Strong earnings reported for the first quarter

3 May 2019 — Cosmin CONCEATU
For the first quarter of 2019, Willis Towers Watson revenue was USD 2.31 billion, showing an increase of 1% (5% increase constant currency and organic) as compared to USD 2.29 billion for the same period in the prior year.

Net income attributable to Willis Towers Watson for the first quarter of 2019 was USD 287 million (+33%, compared to prior-year first quarter). For the quarter, diluted earnings per share were USD 2.20 and adjusted diluted earnings per share were USD 2.98. These figures included pre-tax USD 6 million of transaction and integration expenses related to the pending TRANZACT acquisition. Net income for the first quarter of 2019 was USD 293 million, or 12.7% of revenue (9.6% of revenue for the prior-year first quarter).

Adjusted EBITDA
for the first quarter of 2019 was USD 601 million, or 26.0% of revenue. The first quarter is seasonally strong due to the renewal periods for some lines of business.

Operating income margin improved by 420 basis points compared to the first quarter of the prior year. Adjusted operating income margin improved by 200 basis points to 21.3% from 19.3% in the prior-year first quarter. The margin improvement was driven by enhanced margin performance within the Human Capital and Benefits (HCB) segment, the Corporate Risk and Broking (CRB) segment, and the Benefits Delivery and Administration (BDA) segment, partially offset by a margin decrease in our Investment Risk and Reinsurance (IRR) segment.

Cash flows from operating activities for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 was (USD 47) million compared to USD 18 million for the prior-year first quarter. Free cash flow for the quarters ended March 31, 2019 and 2018 was (USD 104) million and (USD 47) million, respectively. During the quarter ended March 31, 2019, the Company had no share repurchase activity.

John HALEY, Willis Towers Watson's CEO, said:

"We are pleased with our first-quarter financial results and the continued momentum in our business. We delivered strong organic revenue growth, reflecting solid demand for our solutions and services across all of our core businesses. Likewise, we made solid progress in driving profitable growth, as demonstrated by our year-over-year margin expansion. With the disciplined execution of our strategy, we remain confident in our ability to drive profitable growth and deliver value for our clients and shareholders."

Full Q1 report can be found here: Willis Towers Watson Reports Strong First Quarter 2019 Earnings

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