MMC Purchases Brower Insurance - Analyst Blog

By Zacks | December 06, 2012 AAA

Expanding its employee benefits coverage, Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc.'s (MMC) Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC (MMA) announced the acquisition of a leading Ohio-based Brower Insurance Agency. However, the terms and financials of the deal remain concealed. MMA is a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan's leading insurance brokerage wing- Marsh Inc. Armed with $24 million in annual revenue, Brower Insurance taps middle market organizations and individuals to offer an array of employee benefits, property-casualty and consulting services. Following the acquisition, all of the 164 employees of Brower Insurance will be integrated with MMA to serve the mid-West regions. The latest acquisition is another attempt by Marsh & McLennan to maximize its manpower resources in order to expand its clientele base.

Marsh & McLennan's MMA has been following the strategy of growth through acquisitions, over the last couple of years. Last month, MMA acquired Massachusetts-based Protector Group and South Dakota-based Howalt+McDowell Insurance Inc. Following the acquisition of Rosenfeld Einstein, MMA acquired about 24 firms since November 2009.

Despite the acquisition-related costs, Marsh & McLennan posted impressive results in the first nine months of 2012 on account of top-line growth in all lines of businesses and higher investment income. Even lower operating expenses have supported margin growth. In addition, a stable outlook affirmation from the ratings agencies boosts the optimism about Marsh & McLennan's credibility and operating leverage.

While the company is able to concentrate on its core efficiencies, Marsh & McLennan's unutilized $1.0 billion revolving credit facility along with expected tax benefits in the upcoming quarters shall provide cushion to the company's liquidity, thereby eliminating any significant risk from the company's financial leverage.

Overall, as a leading global broker, Marsh & McLennan has a history of outperforming its peers banking on its size, diverse product offering, global presence and technical expertise. Despite the sluggish organic growth, the company is still a dominant player in its industry, quite next to the leading Aon Corp. (AON).

Currently, Marsh & McLennan carries a long-term Neutral recommendation and a Zacks Rank #3, which translates into a short-term Hold rating.

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