Aon saw organic revenues surge by 5 percent in the second quarter driven by impressive growth in its reinsurance business, however the group’s bottom line was impacted by almost $300mn of restructuring and litigation costs.
The ongoing restructure at the broking powerhouse cost $195mn in the second quarter, which Aon said was largely driven by “separation initiatives” and “workforce reductions”.
Redundancies cost the firm $33mn in the second quarter, bringing the total bill for staff costs so far to $365mn. Aon said that would be $420mn by the time it has finished laying people off.
The bulk of cost of the business overhaul in the second quarter was booked as “other costs associated with restructuring and separation” and priced at $136mn.
The broker said it will have spent $1.18bn by the time the three-year restructure plan is completed. But it said the initiative was expected to save $450mn a year from 2019.
Another item that weighed heavily on the balance sheet was a $103mn “legacy litigation” cost but Aon did not give details of the charge.
Together, the restructuring and litigation cost pushed Aon to a $16mn operating loss in the second quarter. But that was better than the $167mn deficit it reported this time last year.
Top line also improved as the broker reported revenues of $2.6bn, a 10 percent increase on this time last year, with 5 percent of that from organic growth.
The rocketfuel behind that growth was the group’s reinsurance business - the largest in the industry - which booked an 8 percent increase in revenues, reaching $380mn for the quarter.
Aon said the growth was driven by “net new business generation globally in treaty and strong growth in facultative placements”. However, it noted that was partially offset by a “modest” decline in capital markets transactions.
“The prior year quarter benefited from record catastrophe bond issuance during the mid-year renewal season,” Aon said.
“Market impact was modestly unfavorable on results in the second quarter, as modest upward pressure in loss-exposed geographies was more than offset by record levels of capital.”
On the primary side, Aon’s commercial risk solutions unit saw organic revenues climb by 6 percent to $1.17bn during the second quarter.
The broker said the increase was driven by “growth across every major geography, highlighted by strength across North America, the UK, and Australia”.
“Results reflect strong global new business generation and management of the renewal book portfolio. In North America, double-digit new business generation was highlighted by strength in our transaction liability business in the US and our construction business in Canada,” it explained.
In a statement, Aon’s long-serving boss Greg Case said: “Our second quarter results reflect continued momentum toward our mission with positive performance across each of our key financial metrics.”
He said those included 5 percent organic revenue growth across the group as well as “substantial” growth in operating income and an expansion in operating margins.
“We enter the second half of the year with momentum, operating from a position of strength and on track to deliver our near-term target of exceeding $7.97 adjusted earnings per share for the full year 2018,” he went on.
“More important, we believe these further steps toward our mission to unite the firm will help deliver our potential for clients and colleagues and will unlock significant shareholder value creation through double-digit free cash flow growth over the long-term.”