Willis Towers Watson withdraws guidance, remains ‘resilient’

Willis Towers Watson has announced that total revenue increased 7% to $2.47bn (£1.98bn) in the first quarter of 2020, with a constant currency growth of 8% and organic growth of 4%.

Net income for the first quarter of 2020 was $313m (£252m), a 12.7% increase from $293m (£235m) the previous year.

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In the three months to 31 March, income from operations was $360m (£290m), or 14.6% of revenue, down 90 basis points against the year prior.

Meanwhile, adjusted operating income was $525m (£422m), or 21.3% of revenue, which was flat compared with the previous year. Diluted earnings per share were also $2.34 (£1.88) in the period, up 6% from the year prior.

In its latest update, the group said that the pandemic did not have a “material adverse impact” to our financial results for the first quarter of 2020.

Nonetheless, it expects that the impact of Covid-19 on the general economic activity could “negatively impact” its revenue and operating results for the remainder of 2020. 

For this reason, the group is now withdrawing its full-year 2020 guidance, and will later re-assess whether it may be able to provide guidance “once we have a clearer understanding of the depth, duration, and geographic reach of the pandemic”.

John Haley, Willis Towers Watson’s chief executive officer, said: “Willis Towers Watson executed well in the first quarter while navigating the unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would like to personally acknowledge and thank our colleagues for remaining steadfast in supporting our clients and each other through a very challenging environment.”

He added: “We are dealing with extraordinary times, but I am pleased to say our resilience, experience and business continuity plans have enabled us to operate at a high level globally. 

“We believe we remain well-positioned to manage through this difficult period, while continuing to serve our clients, engage our colleagues and deliver value for our shareholders.”

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