The Helvetia Group has had a difficult year. The deterioration of the result was however lessened by the progress of its activities in Spain, according to the press release released Thursday. The results are in line with expectations, according to analysts at Bank Vontobel. The profit is a little better, the business volume a little lower than forecast.
The group’s net profit fell by 47.7% to 282 million francs. But if, in Switzerland, it recorded a decline in the result of 50%, to 212 million francs, its performance improved by 36.5% in Europe, to 175 million francs. The Saint-Welsh group led by Philipp Gmür indeed proceeded in January 2020 to the acquisition of Caser in Spain, for which it spent 851 million francs.
The board of directors of the insurer proposes the payment of an unchanged dividend of 5 francs per share. On this basis, the group would distribute 109% of the profit.
Rise in non-life business
Total premium income rose 2.7% in 2020 to CHF 9.7 billion. But without the Caser business in Spain, revenues would have fallen 4.8%. On the basis of pro rata consolidation, Caser contributed CHF 715.3 million to the volume.
Insurance saw an increase in non-life business of 16.1%, while revenues decreased by 10.4% in life insurance.
Helvetia suffered from financial market volatility last year. During the first half of the year, the pandemic caused severe turbulence in the financial markets. This resulted in a halving of investment results to CHF 1.43 billion. The direct yield fell from 1.9% to 1.7% and the total performance from 5.9 to 2.7%.
Within the St. Gallen group, Smile has become the most important online provider in Switzerland, according to the press release. The company indeed records 100 million francs in premium income with more than 150,000 customers. MoneyPark has also risen to the position of independent leader in mortgages, with 27 billion francs of mortgages concluded and managed.
With its helvetia 20.25 strategy, the insurer intends to be “the best partner in terms of financial security and to set a benchmark in terms of convenience for customers and access to customers.” Financially, it provides for the payment of 1.5 billion francs over the next 5 years.