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Willis Towers (WLTW) Q1 Earnings and Revenues Miss Estimates

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Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company (WLTW - Free Report) delivered first-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings of $2.98 per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.99. However, the bottom line improved about 10% year over year.

The quarter witnessed strong organic revenue growth, reflecting solid demand for solutions and services across all core businesses and margin expansion.

Operational Update

Willis Towers Watson posted adjusted consolidated revenues of $2.31 billion, up 1% year over year, on a reported basis. The metric grew 5% on an organic basis. The top line however missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.37 billion.

Total cost of providing services decreased 3.9% year over year to $1.95 billion.

Adjusted operating income was $492 million. Margin increased 200 basis points (bps) to 21.3% driven by better margin at 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 decrease in Investment Risk and Reinsurance (IRR) segment.

Adjusted EBITDA was $601 million, up 7.9% year over year. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 26%, up 170 bps.

Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Quarterly Segment Update

Human Capital & Benefits: Total revenues of $829 million were up 3% year over year both on constant currency and organic basis. Operating margin was 25%, reflecting an increase of 200 bps.

Corporate Risk & Broking: Total revenues of $728 million improved 3% year over year on a constant basis and 4% on an organic basis. Operating margin was 17.4% in the quarter under review, up 60 bps.

Investment, Risk & Reinsurance: Total revenues of $589 million increased 6% from the prior-year quarter on constant basis and 5% on an organic basis. Operating margin was 43%, down 200 bps.

Benefits Delivery & Administration: Total revenues of $135 million improved 10% both on constant and organic basis. Operating margin was negative 15% compared with negative 26% in the year-ago quarter.

Financial Update

Cash and cash equivalents decreased nearly 4% from the 2018-end level to about $992 million.

Long-term debt increased 2.9% from 2018 end to nearly $4.5 billion at quarter-end.

Shareholders’ equity increased 2.4% from the level on Dec 31, 2018 to $10.1 billion as of Mar 31, 2019.

Cash outflow from operations was $47 million against cash inflow of $18 million in the year-ago quarter. Free cash outflow was $104 million, wider than outflow of $47 million the year-ago quarter.

Zacks Rank

Willis Towers currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Performance of Other Insurers

Among other insurance brokers that have reported first-quarter results so far, Aon Plc’s (AON - Free Report) earnings came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate while that of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG - Free Report) and Brown & Brown, Inc. (BRO - Free Report) beat the same.

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