Generali Holding Vienna AG

euro adhoc: Generali Holding Vienna AG
Annual Reports
Sharp rise in Generali Vienna's profits

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The Generali Vienna Group pushes its profit from ordinary activities up to over EUR 130 million and net profit for the year to over EUR 100 million. The per-share earnings of listed parent Generali Holding Vienna AG rise from EUR 0.40 to EUR 1.60.

The Generali Vienna Group achieved a sharp rise in profits in 2004. This insurance group, which operates in Austria and in seven countries in Central and Eastern Europe, was able to more than triple its profit from ordinary activities to EUR 130.2 million. Net profit four the year almost quadrupled up on the year to EUR 100.1 million.

As group CEO Karl Stoss stressed at the presentation of the annual report in conformity with International Accounting Standards, "That rapid growth has been the fruit of the strict focus on profit that we have adopted. We kept a close eye on costs and severed persistently unprofitable business relationships."

Nonetheless, the group's premium income grew by 3 per cent to EUR 2.65 billion, and including savings premiums in the unit-linked life insurance segment, it rose by all of 6.7 per cent to EUR 2.83 billion. As Stoss commented, "We can be happy with that, although we will of course continue to target rapid growth in the future and plan to secure and increase our market shares."

The group's growth strategy will remain focused on Central and Eastern Europe. Generali is the fourth-largest international financial services provider in the region, where its premium income grew by 16 per cent to EUR 702.5 million in 2004. As a result, Central and Eastern Europe already accounts for 26.5 per cent of the Generali Vienna Group's aggregate premium income. Its premium income in Austria was 1.1 per cent down on the year at EUR 1.95 billion. That was the result both of its caution in the property/casualty insurance segment and growth in demand for its MAXX Invest unit-linked life insurance plan; IAS namely does not recognize savings premiums as premium income.

Claims and benefits fell by 0.9 per cent to EUR 1.77 billion, reducing the group's gross combined ratio (claims and benefit payments and costs as a percentage of premium income) to 93.7 per cent. That compares with 114.7 per cent just two years ago.

Generali Holding Vienna AG, the listed company that acts as the Generali Vienna Group's holding company and reinsurer, will be asking the AGM on 25 May 2005 to declare an increase in distribution (dividend plus bonus) from 25 to 42 cents per no-par share. That would boost the distribution to shareholders by 68 per cent on the year to EUR 26.9 million. Generali is proposing that sharp increase so that its shareholders can also share in the benefits of the group's excellent development both in Austria and in Central and Eastern Europe. Its earnings per share rose from EUR 0.40 to EUR 1.60.

Group CEO Karl Stoss is looking confidently forward to 2005. "We want to continue full steam ahead in 2005, although I am fully aware that we must continue to look not just at premium growth but also at profitability." Generali has already made a perceptible impact on consumers in Austria with its new generation of life and motor insurance products, and it also anticipates healthy premium growth in 2005 from its ongoing development work in Central and Eastern Europe. "If we are spared major catastrophe claims in 2005, as we were in 2004, and if things develop similarly this year, we can as things stand at the moment look forward to an increase in consolidated net profit for the year."

The Interim Report to 31 March 2005 will be presented on 25 May 2005.

end of announcement                                euro adhoc 22.04.2005 07:30:00

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:    WBI, ATX Prime, ATX
Börsen:  Berliner Wertpapierbörse / free trade
              Hamburger Wertpapierbörse / free trade
              Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse / free trade
              Baden-Württembergische Wertpapierbörse / free trade
              Bayerische Börse / free trade
              Wiener Börse AG / official dealing

Weitere Meldungen: Generali Holding Vienna AG

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