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Aon profit dips on foreign exchange in first quarter

Aon profit dips on foreign exchange in first quarter

Aon P.L.C.'s first quarter 2016 revenues dropped 1.9% year over year to $2.79 billion, reflecting in part the negative impact of foreign exchange, the company announced Friday.

The overall drop in revenue reflected a “3% unfavorable impact from foreign currency translation and a 2% decrease in commissions and fees related to net divestitures, partially offset by 3% organic revenue growth,” according to Aon's earnings statement released Friday.

Net income dropped 4.1% to $327 million, the company said.

During the company's Friday morning earnings call, Aon President and CEO Greg Case noted that there had been “growth across every major business,” and called the results a “solid start of the year.” He cited organic growth and “solid” retention rates in the company's U.S. retail business as evidence of Aon's positive performance and added that “we feel very good about continued progress.”

Revenue for Aon's Risk Solutions segment dropped 1.2% to $1.87 billion. The retail brokerage segment's revenue dropped 1.2% to $1.5 billion while that for the reinsurance portion dropped 1.3% to $372 million. The Risk Solutions segment sustained a 4% unfavorable impact from foreign currency translation, partially offset by 3% organic growth in commissions and fees, the company said in its earnings release.

Aon said that retail organic revenue increased 4%, reflecting organic revenue growth in both the Americas and international businesses. Reinsurance organic revenue increased 1% compared to the prior year quarter due primarily to growth from facultative placements, cedent demand in treaty placements, and new business generation, partially offset by an unfavorable market impact globally, Aon said in its release.

Aon's HR Solutions operations posted a 4.1% decline in revenue to $930 million. Revenue for the HR Solutions consulting services segment grew slightly less than 1% to $374 million while that of its outsourcing segment dropped 7.3% to $560 million. The overall decrease in the segment was “driven by a 4% decrease in commissions and fees resulting from net divestitures and a 2% unfavorable impact from foreign currency translation, partially offset by 2% organic growth in commissions and fees,” said Aon in its earnings statement.

Aon missed expected earnings because of lower than expected revenues, said Paul Newsome, managing director at Sandler O'Neill & Partners L.P. in Chicago in a research note. The lower-than-expected revenues offset positives such as a modestly lower than anticipated effective tax rate, he wrote.

“The Risk Solutions business was solid in all respects from organic growth to margins,” wrote Mark Dwelle, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets Inc. in Richmond, Virginia, in a note. “HR Solutions was soft, particularly in the Outsourcing segment which saw a 7% decline in revenues.”

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