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Hewitt reports lower UK retirement consulting

EUROPE – Hewitt Associates, in its third-quarter earnings report, has reported it is seeing lower retirement plan consulting revenue at its UK arm.

“Consulting revenue growth was modestly lower than we expected, however, primarily resulting from lower retirement plan consulting in the UK and less demand for certain discretionary consulting projects,” said chairman and chief executive Dale Gifford.

Hewitt spokeswoman Kelly Zitlow said the UK fall was "primarily because recent legislation caused some deferral of companies' decisions in this area". She added: "We expect activity will pick up in fiscal 2005."

Hewitt, which bought Bacon & Woodrow in 2002, said its total consulting revenues before currency and other effects rose four percent to 198.7 million dollars.

But it said: “Adjusting for the favorable effects of acquisitions of approximately two million dollars and the effects of favourable foreign currency translation of approximately eight million dollars, consulting revenues declined one percent.

“On this basis, there were very small decreases to flat revenues across retirement plan consulting, health benefit management and all other consulting, primarily driven by lower retirement plan consulting in the UK and less demand for certain discretionary consulting projects.”

The earnings release did not provide figures on the UK decline.

Consulting segment income fell to 36.3 million dollars from 36.4 million dollars in the prior-year quarter. It expects consulting to grow at 4%-6% for the 2004 fiscal year – compared to a 14% forecast for its outsourcing business.

Outsourcing revenues were up 16.1% at 353.1 million dollars with segment income 12.7% higher at 67.1 million dollars.

Illinois-based Hewitt’s overall revenues for the period were up 11.5% at 551.7 million dollars with net income up 13.1% at 29.9 million dollars.


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