Market Overview

Aon Reports Third Quarter 2019 Results

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LONDON, Oct. 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --

Third Quarter Key Metrics From Continuing Operations

  • Total revenue increased 1% to $2.4 billion, with organic revenue growth of 5%
  • Operating margin increased from 11.2% to 15.1%, and operating margin, adjusted for certain items, increased 350 basis points to 22.0%
  • EPS increased from $0.61 to $0.93, and EPS, adjusted for certain items, increased 11% to $1.45
  • For the first nine months of 2019, cash flow from operations increased 19% to $1,163 million, and free cash flow increased 25% to $996 million

Third Quarter Highlights

  • Repurchased 1.8 million Class A Ordinary Shares for approximately $350 million
  • Recently announced two key actions to accelerate our Aon United growth strategy which we believe will further accelerate organic growth and support sustainable margin expansion. Delivering Aon United program expands globally to further improve sales effectiveness, strengthen segmentation strategy and increase collaboration across solution lines to create more value for clients. Aon Business Services will establish client service hubs that use technology platforms and new capabilities to deliver more consistent client service and improve operational leverage for the firm
  • Received an Innovation Award from Business Insurance, recognizing our unique intellectual property insurance liability offering that was developed through the use of proprietary data and analytics to address an area of growing client demand

Aon plc (NYSE:AON) today reported results for the three months ended September 30, 2019.

Net income from continuing operations attributable to Aon shareholders was $223 million, or $0.93 per share, compared to $149 million, or $0.61 per share, in the prior year period. Net income per share from continuing operations attributable to Aon shareholders, adjusted for certain items, increased 11% to $1.45, including an unfavorable impact of $0.02 per share if the company were to translate prior year period results at current period foreign exchange rates ("foreign currency translation"), compared to $1.31 in the prior year period. Certain items that impacted third quarter results and comparisons with the prior year period are detailed in the "Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures - Operating Income from Continuing Operations and Diluted Earnings Per Share" on page 10 of this press release.

"Our third quarter results reflect continued progress resulting from our Aon United initiatives, highlighted by strong organic revenue growth of 5% and substantial operating margin improvement of 350 basis points. We are building momentum year-to-date as reflected in a 200 basis point acceleration of organic revenue growth to 6%, translating into double-digit free cash flow growth," said Greg Case, Chief Executive Officer. "We continue to strategically invest in content and capability while taking progressive steps to consistently deliver the best of our global firm to clients, strengthening our ability to deliver innovation and improved financial performance that we believe will unlock significant shareholder value creation. Looking ahead, we expect strong performance in the fourth quarter to close out the year with continued progress against our goal of mid-single digit organic revenue growth or greater over the long-term."

THIRD QUARTER 2019 FINANCIAL SUMMARY
The third quarter 2019 financial results discussed herein represent performance from continuing operations unless otherwise noted.

Total revenue in the third quarter increased 1% to $2.4 billion compared to the prior year period driven by 5% organic revenue growth, partially offset by a 2% unfavorable impact from foreign currency translation and a 2% unfavorable impact from divestitures, net of acquisitions.

Total operating expenses in the third quarter decreased 3% to $2.0 billion compared to the prior year period due primarily to a $44 million favorable impact from foreign currency translation, a $34 million decrease in restructuring charges, $32 million of incremental savings related to restructuring and other operational improvement initiatives, and a $27 million decrease in expenses related to divestitures, net of acquisitions, partially offset by a $25 million non-recurring legacy litigation benefit recorded in the prior year period and an increase in expense associated with 5% organic revenue growth.

Restructuring expenses were $63 million in the third quarter, primarily driven by other costs associated with restructuring and separation initiatives and technology rationalization. As previously announced, the Company expects the total estimated costs of the program to be approximately $1,525 million. Restructuring charges are expected to be $1,350 million, including $1,250 million of cash charges and $100 million of non-cash charges. All remaining charges associated with the program will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2019. To date, the Company has incurred $1,263 million, or 94%, of the total estimated restructuring charges and $1,027 million, or 82% of the total estimated cash spend. In addition to the $1,350 million of total restructuring charges, the Company estimates $175 million of incremental capital expenditures associated with the three-year program, of which $137 million, or 78%, has been incurred to date. An analysis of restructuring and related costs by type is detailed on page 15 of this press release.

Restructuring savings in the third quarter related to restructuring and other operational improvement initiatives are estimated to be $137 million, before any potential reinvestment, an increase of $32 million compared to the prior year period. Before any potential reinvestment of savings, restructuring and other operational improvement initiatives are expected to deliver run-rate savings of $510 million annually in 2019 and run-rate savings of $535 million annually in 2020. To date, the Company has achieved $475 million, or 93%, of the total estimated annualized savings expected in 2019, before any potential reinvestment.

Foreign currency exchange rates in the third quarter had a $2 million, or $0.01 per share, unfavorable impact on U.S. GAAP net income, and a $4 million, or $0.02 per share, unfavorable impact on adjusted net income if the Company were to translate prior year quarter results at current quarter foreign exchange rates. If currency were to remain stable at today's rates, we would expect an unfavorable impact of approximately $0.04 per share, or approximately $12 million reduction of operating income, in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Effective tax rate used in our U.S. GAAP financial statements in the third quarter was 19.6%, compared to 20.1% in the prior year period. After adjusting to exclude the applicable tax impact associated with certain non-GAAP adjustments, the adjusted effective tax rate for the third quarter of 2019 increased to 21.4% compared to 12.8% in the prior year quarter, primarily driven by changes in the geographical distribution of income and a net unfavorable impact from discrete items. The adjusted effective tax rate in the prior year period included a net favorable impact from discrete items. Certain items that impacted third quarter results and comparisons with the prior year period are detailed in the "Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures - Operating Income from Continuing Operations and Diluted Earnings Per Share" on page 10 of this press release.

Weighted average diluted shares outstanding decreased to 239.1 million in the third quarter compared to 245.6 million in the prior year period. The Company repurchased 1.8 million Class A Ordinary Shares for approximately $350 million in the quarter. As of September 30, 2019, the Company had $2.5 billion of remaining authorization under its share repurchase program.

YEAR TO DATE 2019 CASH FLOW SUMMARY
Cash flow provided by operations for the first nine months of 2019 increased 19%, or $188 million, to $1,163 million compared to the prior year period, primarily reflecting strong operational improvement. The current year period includes approximately $85 million of net cash payments in the first quarter related to legacy litigation. The prior year comparable period included an $80 million accelerated pension contribution.

Free cash flow, defined as cash flow from operations less capital expenditures, increased 25%, or $200 million, to $996 million for the first nine months of 2019 compared to the prior year period, reflecting an increase in cash flow from operations and a $12 million decrease in capital expenditures.

THIRD QUARTER 2019 REVENUE REVIEW
The third quarter revenue reviews provided below include supplemental information related to organic revenue, which is a non-GAAP measure that is described in detail in "Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures - Organic Revenue and Free Cash Flow" on page 9 of this press release.



Three Months Ended











(millions)


Sep 30,
2019


Sep 30,
2018


%
Change


Less:
Currency
Impact


Less:
Fiduciary
Investment
Income


Less:
Acquisitions,
Divestitures
& Other


Organic
Revenue
Growth

Revenue















Commercial Risk Solutions


$

1,057


$

1,029


3%


(2)%


—%


(2)%


7%

Reinsurance Solutions


291


279


4


(1)


1


(1)


5

Retirement Solutions


484


501


(3)


(2)



(4)


3

Health Solutions


279


278



(3)



1


2

Data & Analytic Services


271

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