NEW YORK, NEW YORK, November 1, 2005 - Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC) today reported financial results for the third quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2005. Consolidated revenues for the quarter decreased 2 percent to $2.9 billion. Net income was $65 million, or $.12 per share, an increase from $21 million, or $.04 per share, in the third quarter of 2004. For the nine months of 2005, consolidated revenues were unchanged at $9.2 billion. Net income was $365 million, or $.67 per share, compared with $856 million, or $1.60 per share, in the 2004 period. Excluding noteworthy items described in the attached supplemental schedules, earnings per share in the third quarter of 2005 was $.35, a decline of 17 percent from $.42 in the same period of 2004. Excluding the same items, earnings per share for the nine months of 2005 was $1.30, compared with $2.11 in 2004.
In the third quarter, MMC adopted FASB Statement No. 123(R) entitled "Share-Based Payment." Incremental compensation expense of $37 million, primarily related to stock options, and an increase in fully diluted shares of 2.3 million in the third quarter reduced earnings per share by slightly less than $.05.
Michael G. Cherkasky, president and chief executive officer of MMC, said: "MMC continued in the quarter to make progress and take the steps which will make it a better and more profitable company next year. Cost savings from the restructuring programs are being realized as anticipated, and we expect to see improved earnings performance beginning next year. Marsh continues successfully, but slowly, to restore its business from the effects of the events of last fall. Marsh launched its pricing initiative, and we are optimistic about its impact for 2006. Both Kroll and Mercer's specialty consulting businesses continue to produce impressive revenue growth, and Mercer Human Resource Consulting is investing to enhance its position as a global leader for human resource advice, services, and solutions. Putnam is improving its investment performance and controlling costs diligently."
Risk and Insurance Services
Marsh's risk management and insurance broking revenues declined 11 percent in the third quarter to $885 million. The percentage decline in revenues and operating income in North American operations improved, compared with the first two quarters of 2005. Weaker revenues in Europe in the third quarter reflected the sale of a small affinity business in France and delays due to restructuring efforts and the implementation of compliance protocols. Strong new business gains in Latin America and Asia Pacific led to growth in client revenues in those regions.
Guy Carpenter's revenues in the third quarter were $207 million, compared with $209 million last year, as new business nearly offset premium rate declines in the reinsurance markets and higher risk retentions by clients. These marketplace conditions have been evident throughout the year.
Related insurance services revenues rose 8 percent in the third quarter to $285 million, driven by particular strength in the claims management business.
Risk Consulting and Technology
MMC's net debt position declined by over $400 million in the third quarter to $3.8 billion from $4.2 billion as the company generated strong cash flow in the quarter. MMC took financing actions in the quarter to enhance liquidity by significantly extending debt maturities and to secure favorable long-term fixed interest rates.
In September, MMC made a discretionary tax-deductible contribution to its U.S. defined benefit retirement plan with company stock valued at $205 million. The value of plan assets now exceeds current estimates of both accumulated and projected plan benefit obligations.
MMC's consolidated tax rate of 27.8 percent for the third quarter primarily reflects favorable adjustments resulting from the filing of its 2004 U.S. tax return. MMC expects the effective tax rate on ongoing operations to be 35 percent for the fourth quarter of this year.
As previously reported, Marsh sold Crump Group, Inc., its U.S.-based wholesale broking operation, in October. The gain on the sale will be reflected in the fourth quarter.
The MMC Victims Relief Fund came to the aid of colleagues who lived in the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina and who are in need of financial assistance to meet emergency needs. To date, contributions to the fund total $1.2 million, including the company's donation and match of employee contributions, as well as additional money raised by employees in fundraisers held by many MMC offices around the world.
MMC is a global professional services firm with annual revenues exceeding $12 billion. It is the parent company of Marsh, the world's leading risk and insurance services firm; Guy Carpenter, the world's leading risk and reinsurance specialist; Kroll, the world's leading risk consulting company; Mercer, a major global provider of human resource and specialty consulting services; and Putnam Investments, one of the largest investment management companies in the United States. Approximately 59,000 employees provide analysis, advice, and transactional capabilities to clients in over 100 countries. Its stock (ticker symbol: MMC) is listed on the New York, Chicago, Pacific, and London stock exchanges. MMC's website address is www.mmc.com.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements," as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements, which use words like "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "plan," "project" and similar terms, express management's current views concerning future events or results. For example, we may use forward-looking statements when addressing topics such as future actions by our management or regulators; the outcome of contingencies; changes in our business strategy; changes in our business practices 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; the impact of acquisitions and dispositions; and MMC's cash flow and liquidity.