swissfirst AG

euro adhoc: Swissfirst AG
Financial Figures/Balance Sheet
Results for the 2005 business year

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31.03.2006

- Total operating income increases 40.8% to CHF 118.1 million - Operating profit up by 59.6% to CHF 76.4 million - Net profit after minorities advances 55.6% to CHF 59.7 million - Total assets under management of CHF 10.914 billion at the end of 2005 - A dividend of CHF 2 per share will be proposed at the general meeting - Net profit after minorities for the fourth quarter of 2005: CHF 21.6 million (includes first-time consolidation of Bellevue units).

    Swissfirst Group's total operating income for the 2005 business year amounted to CHF 118.1 million, an increase of 40.8% over the previous year figure of CHF 83.9 million. Besides the positive market environment, from which all business units were able to benefit, this strong growth was driven by the first time consolidation of the Bellevue units (Bank am Bellevue AG and Bellevue Asset Management AG) in the fourth quarter of 2005.

    Total operating expenses rose at a proportionally slower rate of 15.7%, and stood at CHF 41.7 million for the full year. This resulted in a gross operating profit of CHF 76.4 million, 59.6% more than the previous year of CHF 47.9 million. After deduction of increased fixed asset depreciation, impairments/provisions, tax expense and minorities, Group net profit stood at CHF 59.7 million. This represents an increase of 55.6% over the prior year result.

    The Board of Directors will propose a dividend of CHF 2.00 per bearer share at the General Meeting on May 6, 2006.

    Interest income improves

    Despite the shifting environment on the interest rate front and falling demand for credits, net interest income for the past fiscal year rose from CHF 11.3 million to CHF 13.6 million (+20.4%).

    Increase in commission income

    Swissfirst Group generated net commission income of CHF 81.6 million in the past business year, an increase of 30.6% over the 2004 figure of CHF 62.5 million. Much of this growth was attributable to the Investment Banking and the Asset Management.

    Gross commission income from transactions rose from CHF 50 million to CHF 57.8 million while their percentage share of total gross commissions declined from 74.8% to 67.6%. Commissions from the Asset Management activities increased by 25.7% to CHF 17.6 million, accounting for an unchanged 21% share of total gross commissions. Furthermore, the Swissfirst Group booked considerably higher performance fees of CHF 5.5 million (previous year CHF 1.3 million) from investment activities (BB Medtech).  

    Good trading results

    Our trading operations benefited strongly from the favorable market environment and contributed CHF 12.0 million to net operating income, up from CHF 7.1 million the prior year.

    Higher cost base

    Due to the integration of the acquired business units, total expenses for the past business year rose to CHF 41.7 million, representing a 15.7% increase versus the previous year. The cost-to-income ratio was reduced from 42.9% to 35.3%. The headcount increased during the past year from 112.8 to 164.8 (full-time equivalents).

    Significantly higher shareholders' equity at the end of 2005

    Swissfirst Group's total equity (excluding minority shares) amounted to CHF 315.5 million at year-end 2005, well above the figure of CHF 238.7 million reported for the previous year. The return on average equity stood at 21.6% (previous year 14.8%).

    Assets under management: CHF 10.914 billion

    At the end of 2005 Swissfirst Group was entrusted with client assets of CHF 10.914 billion. Changes in the scope of consolidation (additions: Bank am Bellevue and Bellevue Asset Management, deconsolidated: Swissfirst Structured Bonds) had a positive net effect of CHF 5.259 billion. Net new money inflows in the portfolio management activities amounted to CHF 660 million (CHF 203 million for the Group). The share of assets under administration at our asset management activities increased from CHF 3.791 billion to CHF 7.755 billion at year-end 2005.

    Integration of Bank am Bellevue AG and Bellevue Asset Management AG

    As already announced last year, the integration of the operational units Bank am Bellevue AG and Bellevue Asset Management AG into the Swissfirst Group was concluded at the end of 2005, sooner than expected. The new units were consolidated for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2005. The total purchase price amounted to CHF 276 million, which was partially financed through the issue of a CHF 150 million bond (2 1/8% coupon, 2005/2008) last November by Swissfirst Bank AG. The rest was financed through the issue of 500,000 bearer shares and cash. Intangible assets of CHF 79.6 million and goodwill of CHF 160.3 million were carried on the consolidated balance sheet at year-end 2005 as a result of this purchase.

    Proposals to the General Meeting on May 6, 2006

    The Board of Directors will propose the payment of a dividend of CHF 2.00 per bearer share at the General Meeting scheduled for May 6, 2006.

    In addition, the Board members Dr. Roland Oswald (Board Chairman), Hans E. Buck, Hans Kaufmann, Karl-Ludwig Goeldner and Alex Wassmer are not standing for re-election. Special thanks is extended to the Board members for their strong commitment, profound knowledge and their loyalty and dedication - some have been on the Board since the IPO - and they have been of great value in guiding and enhancing the development of Swissfirst Group over the years.

    Thomas Matter will continue on his function as CEO of Swissfirst Group. However, he will not be proposed for election to the Board of Director since the Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC/EBK) does not allow persons to hold a dual position on the supervisory and executive boards at the holding level of a banking firm. Consequently, the following persons are proposed for election to the Board of Directors: Martin Bisang (Chairman), Daniel Schlatter and Hans-Jörg Graf.

    Investor calendar:

    General meeting:                                              6 May 2006
    Results for the first quarter of 2006:          8 May 2006

    The documentation handed out at the presentations for the media and analysts can be downloaded at www.swissfirst.ch. ; ;

    Swissfirst is an independent financial group listed on SWX Swiss Exchange that specializes in investment banking, private banking and asset management. Its business operations are especially geared toward portfolio management and investment advisory services for private and institutional clients and toward corporate finance business.

Key data (CHF mn)

Profit and Loss                      Q4 2004  Q4 2005  +/- %      2004        2005  '+ / - %
                                            3 months 3 months         12 months 12months 12m '04/05
                                                CHF mn CHF mn 1)            CHF mn CHF mn 1)          
                                                                                                                                
                                                      
Net interest income                  2.585    2.470    -4.5%  11.307    13.617        20.4%
Net fee and commission income 13.480  31.964  137.1%  62.501    81.623        30.6%
Net trading income                  -0.283    2.008      n.m.    7.054    12.077        71.2%
Other income                            -0.387    3.020      n.m.    3.034    10.786         n.m.
Total operating income            15.395  39.462  156.3%  83.896  118.103        40.8%
                                                        
Personnel expenses                  -5.475  -6.987    27.6% -23.886  -24.035         0.6%
Other operating expenses         -2.567  -8.503  231.2% -12.117  -17.631        45.5%
Total expenses                         -8.042 -15.490    92.6% -36.003  -41.666        15.7%
                                                        
Gross operating profit              7.353  23.972  226.0%  47.893  76.437         59.6%
                                                        
Depreciation of fixed/
tangible assets                        -0.358  -2.248      n.m.  -1.716  -3.547        106.7%
Amortisation of goodwill          0.000    0.000      n.m.    0.000    0.000          n.m.
Valuation adjustments,            -0.250  -1.676      n.m.  -0.726  -3.015          n.m.
      provisions and losses                        
                                                    
Taxes                                         0.338    2.503      n.m.  -4.198  -6.041         43.9%
                                                        
Group profit                              7.084  22.552  218.4%  41.253  63.834         54.7%
  Shareholders of
Swissfirst AG                            6.085  21.571  254.5%  38.368  59.719         55.6%
  Minorities                              0.998    0.981                 2.885    4.115         42.6%
                                                        
Earnings per share                    0.61      2.05        n.m.    3.84      5.69          48.2%
Outstanding shares
(fully diluted)                 10'000'000 10'500'000    10'000'000 10'500'000              
                                                        
1) incl. Bellevue units
  (BaB, BaM)                                  2)                                  2)                            
2) Split as of the shares,
    May 17, 2005      
n.m.= not meaningful    
                                
Balance sheet                                         as of                                as of  '+ / - %
                                                         31.12.04                          31.12.05  31.12.04
                                                            CHF mn                              CHF mn
                                                        
Equity (excl. minorities)                  238.656                            315.539        32.2%
Balance sheet total                                  916                                1'785
                                                      
Assets under Management                         4'894                              10'914      123.0%
  Private Banking                                  2'036                                2'849        39.9%
  Asset Management                                 1'755                                4'906      179.5%
  Investment Banking                              1'039                                3'085      196.9%
  Corporate Items                                        64                                    74        15.6%
                                                        
Staff (full-time equivalents)                112.8                                164.8        46.1%


Pro forma figures        
(CHF mn), not audited                      pro forma as                                pro forma
                                                         of  30.9.05            Q4 2005          2005 *)
      
Total income                                                138.0                 39.5              177.5
Total expenses                                            -39.5                -15.5              -55.0
Gross operating profit                                 98.5                 24.0              122.5
Group profit                                                 81.4                 22.6              104.0
  Shareholders of Swissfirst AG                  78.3                 21.6                99.9
  Minorities                                                  3.1                  1.0                 4.1
*) incl. performance fee of CHF 20,6 mn


@@start.t2@@end of announcement                                                 euro adhoc 31.03.2006 05:30:00
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ots Originaltext: swissfirst AG
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.de

Further inquiry note:
For further information please contact:
Mirko Sangiorgio, Tel. +41 (44) 267 72 13, mirko.sangiorgio@swissfirst.ch

Branche: Banking
ISIN:      CH0003376818
WKN:        929068
Index:    SPI
Börsen:  SWX Swiss Exchange / official market



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