Posted on 06 Feb 2009
The largest global insurance brokerage by assets, Aon, said fourth-quarter net income fell sharply on restructuring and acquisition costs, but margins improved and earnings before special items beat Wall Street expectations, sending Aon shares up 12 percent.
Atlantic Equities analyst Alan Devlin credited Aon for being able to stay a step ahead of rising costs despite tough economic conditions. "The earnings surprise came on margins" in its brokerage and consulting units, he said.
Net earnings fell 95 percent to $10 million, or 3 cents a share, from $207 million, or 64 cents a share, a year earlier.
Earnings from continuing operations, excluding certain items, rose 19 percent to 81 cents a share. Revenue slipped 4 percent to $1.9 billion, largely because of foreign currency translation.
Analysts, on average, had expected earnings from continuing operations of 79 cents a share on revenue of $2.06 billion.