Generali Holding Vienna AG

euro adhoc: Generali Holding Vienna AG
Quarterly or Semiannual Financial Statements
Generali: Marked Improvement in Profit from Ordinary Activities in H1 2004 (E)

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Generali Vienna Group already surpasses its profit from ordinary activities during the whole of 2003 in first half of 2004. Combined ratio reduced to close on 90 per cent. CEECs continue to drive premium growth.

The Generali Vienna Group has sustained its strict profit orientation. This financial service provider operates in Austria and in seven countries in Central and Eastern Europe. First-half premium income grew and there was particularly rapid growth in the group's life insurance portfolios. It proved possible to freeze costs, and despite a surge in benefit outpayments in the life insurance segment, the rate of growth of claims and benefits remained stable. CFO Walter Steidl described the marked improvement in profit from ordinary activities and the group's combined ratio as "particularly satisfactory and confirmation of the wisdom of our profit orientation". Profit from ordinary activities during the first half of 2004 came to EUR 63.0 million, as against EUR 19.3 million the same period of 2003. In other words, profit from ordinary activities was already far higher during the first half of 2004 than during the whole of 2003 (EUR 42.1 million). The group was able to reduce its combined ratio from 95.4 per cent to just 91.0 per cent.

Premium income: For the first time, the CEECs account for over 25 per cent of total premium income The group's directly accounted premium income grew by 5.0 per cent to EUR 1.38 billion. That growth was driven by the group's subsidiaries in Central and Eastern Europe, whose first-half premium income increased sharply, advancing by 17.7 per cent to EUR 346.3 million. Their relative contribution to the group’s aggregate premium income broke the 25 per cent barrier for the first time as a result, after having come to 22.4 per cent in the first half of 2003. First-half premium income in Austria was 1.4 per cent up on the year at EUR 1.04 billion. Austrian CEO Hans Peer has stressed that the rate of growth could have been higher but that "we would not dream of subsidizing single-premium policies", thus also underscoring the group's commitment to sustained profitability. As planned, the group continued to throttle down its reinsurance business during the first half of 2004, reducing it by over a third to EUR 53.2 million. Consequently, the group's consolidated first-half premium income totalled EUR 1.44 billion, which translates into an increase of 2.8 per cent.

Life insurance: Portfolio growth of 7.5 per cent Growth of the group's life insurance portfolio accelerated during the first half. It had a volume of EUR 23.47 billion on 30 June 2004, which was 7.5 per cent more than on the same day of 2003. The subsidiaries in Central and Eastern Europe already accounted for 36.3 per cent of the total, reflecting the fact that life insurance awareness is also growing in the new CEEC markets.

High benefit outpayments in the life insurance segment Claims and benefit outpayments to customers were 4.3 per cent up on the first half of 2003 at EUR 1.02 billion. Benefit outpayments in the life insurance segment came to EUR 423.89 million. Outpayments on maturing life insurance policies accounted for 67 per cent of that total and came to 22.7 per cent more than in the same period of the previous year, whereby that trend is expected to flatten off by year-end. First-half claims in the property/casualty segment fell by 6.1 per cent to EUR 531.59 million. The group's first-half costs were virtually unchanged at EUR 301.23 million (increase of 1.1 per cent).

Growth in investments It proved possible to step up the accumulation of investments during the second quarter. On 30 June, the group's consolidated investments totalled EUR 8.61 billion, which was 4.0 per cent more than at year-end 2003. Current investment income came to EUR 214.61 million, which represented a decline of 2.6 per cent.

Over 2004 as a whole, group CEO Dietrich Karner still expects "a result that will allow us to continue to augment our own funds and declare the same distribution to shareholders as for 2003".

end of announcement            euro adhoc 26.08.2004

Further inquiry note: Generali  Holding Vienna AG Josef Hlinka Tel.: (++43-1) 534 01-1375 Fax: (++43-1) 534 01-1593

Branche: Insurance
ISIN:      AT0000661350
WKN:        066135
Index:    ATX, ATX Prime, WBI
Börsen:  Wiener Börse AG / official dealing
              Berliner Wertpapierbörse / free trade
              Bayerische Börse / free trade
              Hamburger Wertpapierbörse / free trade
              Baden-Württembergische Wertpapierbörse / free trade
              Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse / free trade

Weitere Meldungen: Generali Holding Vienna AG

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