by Christof Nelischer, Global Group Treasurer, Willis Group
On 8 August 2013, Willis Group Holdings completed a $525m bond issue. The net proceeds of the offering, together with cash on hand, were used to fund a $521m tender of Willis bonds. The offering represented Willis’s first debt issuance in two and a half years and its inaugural 30-year offering.
The starting point
Under the leadership of Dominic Casserley, who took over as CEO in 2013, Willis’s medium-term strategy is focused on increasing both cash flow and earnings per share through organic growth. However, from time to time, we will also consider acquisitions and divestitures as ways to drive growth. We will consider inorganic actions using a set of decision criteria with a focus on the net present value of our actions. We need to invest where there is growth. This will, of course, mean investing in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. However, this also means focusing on growth areas and industries in North America and Europe, and reducing spending in lower growth areas. In short, Willis is adopting a disciplined approach to portfolio management and M&A, but investment for growth is in the cards.
So what does that mean for capital management?