Watson Wyatt sees profit decline in fourth quarter and full year

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Watson Wyatt Worldwide Inc. reported a 25 percent drop in earnings for the fourth quarter, which ended June 30.

The Arlington-based human resource and financial management company said net income was $31.2 million, or 73 cents per diluted share, compared with$41.7 million, or 95 cents per diluted share, for the same period in 2008.

For the fiscal year, the drop was smaller. Watson reported revenues of $1.68 billion for 2009, down 5 percent from $1.76 billion for the prior year. Net income was $3.42 per diluted share, a drop from $3.50 per share. 

The company, with workers in 34 countries, expects a more stable 2010.  It recently got a green light from the Federal Trade Commission for its $3.5 billion merger with privately-held Towers, Perrin, Foster & Crosby Inc. of Stamford, Conn. However, the deal still awaits approval from other regulators, including those in foreign countries, and shareholders. 

“We are looking forward with great excitement to our pending merger with Towers Perrin,” Watson and President CEO John Haley said in a statement. “The financial and people management landscape is changing dramatically. The Towers Watson combination will help our clients address these emerging challenges with world-class risk, investment and capital expertise.”

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