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Willis Falls as Broker’s Profit Misses Estimates: New York Mover

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Willis Group Holdings Plc, the third-largest insurance broker, fell the most since August after profit dropped, missing analysts’ estimates.

Willis declined $1.80, or 5.1 percent, to $33.45 at 12:22 p.m. in New York. Operating profit was 22 cents a share, missing the 30 cents average estimate of 19 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Third-quarter net income plunged to $26 million, or 15 cents a share, from $60 million, or 34 cents, as revenue was “flat” in North America, the London-based company said in a statement yesterday. Salaries and benefits climbed to $502 million from $489 million.

“Despite the economic recovery and improving insurance rate environment, Willis’ relaxation of several recession-era expense controls will probably pressure 2013 margins,” Meyer Shields, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., said in a note yesterday.

The broker has slumped 14 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Susanna Pak in New York at spak10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut@bloomberg.net

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