CEO Greg Case blames downturn and soft market

Aon’s fourth quarter net income from continuing operations fell 35% as the company battled against the economic downturn and soft market conditions.

Net income from continuing operations fell from $188m to $123m compared to the prior year quarter.

Including cost related to the Benfield takeover, restructuring and discontinued operations net income fell 95%, from $207m to $10m.

Earning per share from continuing operations, excluding certain items, increased 19% to 81 cents.

The UK's revenue for continuing operations for risk and insurance brokering showed static organic growth for 2008.

Commissions and fees for the UK fell from $768m in 2007 to $742m in 2008.

Aon acquired London-based Benfield for $1.6bn in August last year. The FSA find Aon's UK business £5m for breaching anti-bribery controls last month.

Chief executive Greg Case said: “In the fourth quarter, we achieved solid results despite a soft market and very challenging economic environment. These results reflect the strength of our industry-leading network of global resources and capabilities, and continued progress in each of our key operating metrics.

“Organic growth was two percent, adjusted pretax margin increased 120 basis points and adjustedearnings per share from continuing operations increased 19%.”