MMC Reports Third Quarter 2008 Results; GAAP EPS Declines Due to Gain on Sale of Putnam Investments in 2007; Third Quarter Adjusted EPS Flat With Prior Year



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 PDF of Press Release with Financial Information

NEW YORK, November 5, 2008 — Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC) today reported financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2008.

In the quarter, consolidated revenue was $2.8 billion, up 5 percent from the third quarter of 2007. Revenue growth was 2 percent on an underlying basis, which measures the change in revenue before the impact of acquisitions and dispositions, using consistent currency exchange rates. For the nine months ended September 30, consolidated revenue was $8.9 billion, an increase of 8 percent, or 3 percent on an underlying basis, from the comparable period in 2007.

Year-over-year net income comparisons were affected by MMC's gain of $1.9 billion, net of tax, on the divestiture of Putnam Investments in August 2007, reflected in discontinued operations. In the third quarter of 2008, MMC's net loss was $8 million, or $.02 per share, compared with net income of $1.9 billion, or $3.60 per share, last year. Income from continuing operations in the third quarter of 2008, net of tax, was $18 million, or $.03 per share, compared with $80 million, or $.15 per share, last year. Third quarter 2008 results include an increase in professional liability reserves of $33 million, or $.04 per share, due to a recent adverse decision affecting Marsh.

On an adjusted basis, as presented in the attached supplemental schedules, earnings per share in the third quarter of 2008 was $.21 per share, flat with last year. Adjusted earnings per share was $1.08 for the first nine months compared with $1.09 in 2007.

MMC's results for the nine months ended September 30, 2008 include the previously reported non-cash goodwill impairment charge of $540 million in the Risk Consulting and Technology segment. This resulted in a net loss of $153 million, or $.30 per share. In the comparable period of 2007, net income was $2.4 billion, or $4.31 per share, reflecting the gain on the divestiture of Putnam Investments.

Brian Duperreault, president and chief executive officer of MMC, said: "I am pleased with MMC's solid performance, not only in the third quarter but also throughout the year. Results for the quarter were driven by continued improvement at Marsh. Guy Carpenter's alignment of expenses with revenue levels enabled it to maintain profitability on a year-over-year basis. Mercer reported excellent performance, with strong revenue growth across its businesses as well as margin improvement and increased profitability. Oliver Wyman had a difficult quarter due to adverse economic and financial market conditions. Kroll's growth in profitability was driven by its risk mitigation and litigation support businesses. Looking at our progress to date, I am encouraged by MMC's operating results, and optimistic about the future."

Risk and Insurance Services
MMC's Risk and Insurance Services segment revenue in the third quarter of 2008 was $1.3 billion, an increase of 1 percent from the third quarter of 2007. For the first nine months of 2008, segment revenue was $4.2 billion, an increase of 4 percent from the prior year. The operating loss in the third quarter of 2008 was $28 million, including charges for noteworthy items of $97 million and the increase in professional liability reserves of $33 million. In the third quarter, adjusted operating income, which excludes only noteworthy items, increased to $69 million from $5 million last year, due to Marsh's improved operating performance.

Marsh's revenue in the third quarter was $1.1 billion, an increase of 3 percent from last year, or 1 percent on an underlying basis. The strongest underlying growth was in Asia Pacific, with 11 percent growth; EMEA, with 4 percent growth; and Latin America, with 3 percent growth. Marsh's client revenue retention in the quarter improved on a year-over-year basis, continuing the trend seen throughout the year. New business remained strong in the current quarter, at levels consistent with the year-ago period. Marsh's third quarter results were achieved in an environment of continued price competition in the global commercial property and casualty insurance marketplace.

Reinsurance premium rates continued to decline globally in the third quarter across most coverages, with clients' risk retention levels remaining high. Guy Carpenter's third quarter revenue declined 9 percent to $205 million, compared with the prior year's quarter. Restructuring efforts and continuing cost discipline have better aligned revenue and expense levels, allowing Guy Carpenter's profitability on an adjusted basis to remain unchanged compared with the third quarter of 2007.

MMC's Consulting segment revenue grew 9 percent to $1.3 billion in the third quarter of 2008. Operating income was $157 million, an increase of 6 percent from $148 million in the third quarter of 2007. For the first nine months of 2008, segment revenue grew 12 percent to $4 billion.

Mercer increased revenue 12 percent to $951 million in the third quarter, with strong revenue growth achieved throughout its operations. On an underlying basis, revenue increased 10 percent in the quarter. Mercer's consulting operations, with revenue of $691 million, had underlying growth of 11 percent; outsourcing, with revenue of $183 million, had 7 percent growth; and investment consulting and management, with revenue of $77 million, had 12 percent growth. Mercer's underlying revenue growth through the first nine months of the year was 9 percent.

Oliver Wyman's revenue increased 1 percent to $377 million in the third quarter and declined 5 percent on an underlying basis due to ongoing adverse global economic and financial market conditions. For the first nine months of 2008, Oliver Wyman's underlying revenue growth was 1 percent.

Risk Consulting and Technology
MMC's Risk Consulting and Technology segment revenue declined 2 percent to $254 million in the third quarter of 2008. Operating income was $28 million, compared with $29 million in the prior year's quarter. For the first nine months of 2008, segment revenue grew 7 percent to $792 million.

Kroll's revenue of $218 million in the third quarter increased 4 percent from the year-ago quarter and declined 1 percent on an underlying basis. On an underlying basis, a 12 percent increase in Kroll's risk mitigation and response business and a 3 percent increase in the litigation support and data recovery business were offset by a decline of 15 percent in background screening. Kroll's operating income increased by 14 percent in the quarter.

Revenue for the segment's corporate advisory and restructuring business was $36 million in the third quarter, a decline of 25 percent from the prior year. This led to an operating loss in the quarter.

Other Items
MMC had an investment loss in the third quarter of 2008 of $23 million, or $.03 per share, primarily due to mark-to-market declines in private equity investments.

The loss in discontinued operations, net of tax in the third quarter of 2008 primarily results from tax adjustments related to the Putnam sale. An increase in the effective tax rate in the third quarter of 2007, which resulted from the unfavorable impact of tax rate changes in the United Kingdom and Germany, affected last year's results by approximately $.04 per share.

MMC's liquidity remains strong. At the end of the third quarter of 2008, cash and cash equivalents were $1.5 billion, an increase of $300 million for the quarter. Net debt, which is total debt less cash and cash equivalents, was $2.1 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2008, compared with $2.4 billion at the end of the second quarter of 2008. MMC has no commercial paper or bank loans outstanding, and its next debt maturity is in June 2009.

Conference Call
A conference call to discuss third quarter 2008 results will be held today at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. To participate in the teleconference, please dial 877 857 6144. Callers from outside the United States should dial 719 325 4744. The access code for both numbers is 8454332. The live audio webcast may be accessed at A replay of the webcast will be available approximately two hours after the event at the same web address.

MMC is a global professional services firm providing advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy and human capital. It is the parent company of a number of the world's leading risk experts and specialty consultants, including Marsh, the insurance broker and risk advisor; Guy Carpenter, the risk and reinsurance specialist; Mercer, the provider of HR and related financial advice and services; Oliver Wyman, the management consultancy; and Kroll, the risk consulting firm. With more than 55,000 employees worldwide and annual revenue exceeding $11 billion, MMC provides analysis, advice and transactional capabilities to clients in more than 100 countries. Its stock (ticker symbol: MMC) is listed on the New York, Chicago and London stock exchanges. MMC's website address is

This press release contains "forward-looking statements," as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements, which express management's current views concerning future events or results, use words like "anticipate," "assume," "believe," "continue," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "plan," "project" and similar terms, and future or conditional tense verbs like "could," "may," "might," "should," "will" and "would." For example, we may use forward-looking statements when addressing topics such as: changes in our business strategies and methods of generating revenue; the development and performance of our services and products; market and industry conditions, including competitive and pricing trends; changes in the composition or level of MMC's revenues; our cost structure and the outcome of cost-saving or restructuring initiatives; the outcome of contingencies; dividend policy and share repurchase programs; the expected impact of acquisitions and dispositions; pension obligations; cash flow and liquidity; future actions by regulators; the impact of changes in accounting rules; and changes in senior management.

Forward-looking statements are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in our forward-looking statements include:

  • the challenges we face in achieving profitable revenue growth and improving operating margins at Marsh;

  • the extent to which we retain existing clients and attract new business, and our ability to incentivize and retain key employees;

  • the impact on risk and insurance services commission revenues of changes in the availability of, and the premiums insurance carriers charge for, insurance and reinsurance products, including the impact on premium rates and market capacity attributable to catastrophic events;

  • the impact on renewals in our risk and insurance services segment of pricing trends in particular insurance markets, fluctuations in the general level of economic activity and decisions by insureds with respect to the level of risk they will self-insure;

  • revenue fluctuations in risk and insurance services relating to the effect of new and lost business production and the timing of policy inception dates;

  • the impact on our consulting segment of pricing trends, utilization rates, the general economic environment and legislative changes affecting client demand;

  • the impact of competition, including with respect to pricing, the emergence of new competitors, and the fact that many of Marsh's competitors are not constrained in their ability to receive contingent commissions;

  • the impact of current financial market conditions on our results of operations and financial condition;

  • the potential impact of legislative, regulatory, accounting and other initiatives which may be taken in response to the current financial crisis;

  • our exposure to potential liabilities arising from errors and omissions claims against us, including claims of professional negligence in providing actuarial services, such as those alleged by the Alaska Retirement Management Board against Mercer;

  • the ultimate economic impact on MMC of contingencies described in the notes to our financial statements, including the risk of a significant adverse outcome in the shareholder lawsuit against MMC concerning the late 2004 decline in MMC's share price;

  • our ability to meet our financing needs by generating cash from operations and accessing external financing sources, including the impact of current economic conditions on our cost of financing or ability to borrow;

  • the potential impact of rating agency actions on our cost of financing and ability to borrow, as well as on our operating costs and competitive position;

  • changes in the funded status of our global defined benefit pension plans and the impact of any increased pension funding resulting from those changes;

  • our ability to make strategic acquisitions and dispositions and to integrate, and realize expected synergies, savings or strategic benefits from, the businesses we acquire;

  • the impact on net income of foreign exchange and/or interest rate fluctuations;

  • changes in applicable tax or accounting requirements;

  • potential income statement effects from the application of FIN 48 ("Accounting for Uncertainty in Income Taxes") and SFAS 142 ("Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets"), including the effect of any subsequent adjustments to the estimates MMC uses in applying these accounting standards;

  • the impact of, and potential challenges in complying with, legislation and regulation in the jurisdictions in which we operate, particularly given the global scope of our businesses and the possibility of conflicting regulatory requirements across the jurisdictions in which we do business; and

  • other risks detailed from time to time in MMC's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The factors identified above are not exhaustive. MMC and its subsidiaries operate in a dynamic business environment in which new risks may emerge frequently. Accordingly, MMC cautions readers not to place undue reliance on its forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the dates on which they are made. MMC undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances arising after the date on which it is made. Further information concerning MMC and its businesses, including information about factors that could materially affect our results of operations and financial condition, is contained in MMC's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the "Risk Factors" section of MMC's most recently filed Annual Report on Form 10-K.