Aktia Bank Plc
Stock Exchange Release
18 February 2021 at 8.00 a.m.
Aktia Bank Plc’s Financial Statement Release January–December 2020: The exceptional covid year 2020 – the financial performance recovered quickly after a challenging spring
The quarter in short
Stable financial performance continued: the comparable operating profit for the quarter was EUR 19.8 (19.2) million
Assets under management (AuM) were at an all-time high and amounted to EUR 10.4 billion
The good development of net interest income continued, Aktia’s market share in housing loans increased
Customers’ interest in life insurances increased – the number of sold life insurances increased with almost 40% from the previous year
Growth investments increased staff costs from the previous year
The year in short
Negative value changes in the life insurance company’s investment portfolio following the market drop during the first quarter were the main reason for the decrease of the comparable operating profit for 2020 to EUR 55.1 (68.2) million
The financial performance recovered quickly during the second quarter
Continued strong strategic focus on asset management
The use of digital banking services increased considerably
The comparable operating profit for 2021 is expected to be clearly higher than during 2020 provided that the circumstances on the market and in society are stable.
Considering the recommendations issued by the authorities’, the Board proposes that Aktia Bank Plc’s Annual General Meeting authorises the Board to later decide on the payment of a maximum dividend of EUR 0.43 per share for the financial year 2020. The payment is carried out at one or more occasions, however, at the earliest on 1 October 2021.
Mikko Ayub, CEO:
The very exceptional year 2020 will remain in history. The global pandemic has given the entire world something to think about and its effect on the economy and society will be analysed for a long time going forward.
Despite the unfavourable starting point in the beginning of the year, the worst nightmares for the economy did not materialise. At the beginning of the year the market got a real roller-coaster ride, but the year that passed was finally a relief in terms of how the economy in Finland as well as in the world made it through a year that was not only affected by the coronavirus but also by other things such as the US presidential election and the upcoming Brexit.
However, the beginning of the year was challenging for Aktia. Following the steep market drop, the negative value changes in the life insurance company’s investment portfolio during the first quarter were the main reason for the decrease of the comparable operating profit for 2020 to EUR 55.1 (68.2) million.
The financial performance for the end of the year, however, shows that also the recovery supported by the good market development was quick. I am particularly pleased with the development of our customer related business that was excellent during the entire year, despite the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus. Net interest income for the entire year increased by 4 per cent from the previous year and commission income remained unchanged.
Net interest income continued to develop well
Aktia’s comparable operating profit during the final quarter of the year was EUR 19.8 (19.2) million and somewhat better than for the previous year mainly owing to the good development of income.
The operating income continued to develop well: net interest income during the final quarter increased by 8 per cent from last year and amounted to EUR 20.8 million, which I think is a good performance in an environment with low interest rates and margins. Our determined work to develop our sales organisation as well as our customer satisfaction started bearing fruit and Aktia’s market share in housing loans and other credits that have been granted to households increased during the second half of the year. Aktia’s loan book has increased during the year both organically as well as with the help of the loan book that we purchased from the Real Estate Mortgage Bank (in total EUR 115 million during 2019–2020).
Despite the market downswing in the beginning of the year, the commission income for the final quarter, EUR 25.4 million, remained at the same level as during the previous year. Owing to both net subscriptions and changes on the market, Aktia’s assets under management increased to an all-time high at the end of the year and amounted to EUR 10.4 billion. The decreased use of cards among customers was still reflected in lower card payment fees at the end of the year.
Net income from life insurance was also strong during the final quarter and amounted to EUR 10.2 million, which is 24 per cent better than last year. The value changes in real estate and fund investments and the increased interest in life insurances influenced the good performance. The number of sold life insurances was almost 40 per cent higher year-on-year. In addition to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic affecting people’s awareness of safeguarding their economies, the more sales-oriented strategy in Aktia Life Insurance has also brought results.
The comparable expenses were EUR 36.3 (35.2) million and increased by approximately 3 per cent from the previous year. Growth investments increased staff costs from last year.
Focus on digital services during the covid period
The strong development of digital banking services has long played a central role in Aktia. The exceptional year, however, increased the demand for digital services to a whole new level – even amongst them who previously have been hesitant about using these services. Concurrently, the demand for cash has further decreased. Customer meetings were mainly held remotely, and positive customer and employee experiences show that the new operating models probably will be used more extensively than before the corona pandemic.
The coronavirus also affected the economy in several households and companies. During spring Aktia supported its private customers by offering an instalment-free period free of charge and received during the year a total of approximately 15,000 applications. Instalment-free periods were granted more than usual also to companies.
We have previously announced that we as a conservative lender have not identified significant individual risky lines of business or risk concentrations in our loan book, which to a larger extent would be affected by the difficult situation. This is still the case.
The Board of Directors of Aktia Bank Abp decided on 11 January 2021 according to the authorisation given by the Annual General Meeting in 2020 on paying out a dividend of EUR 0.53 per share. The Board of Directors has considered the Financial Supervisory Authority’s updated recommendation on credit institutions’ distribution of profits from 18 December 2020 and decided after careful consideration to decrease the amount of the dividend to the lower limit of its dividend policy, which is 60 per cent of the profit for the reporting period. The Financial Supervisory Authority’s recommendation in this exceptional situation is understandable but Aktia is a bank with a solid capital adequacy ratio and has been a reliable distributor of dividend for a long time.
It is important that Aktia will be an interesting investment object also in the future. Aktia also has an important and responsible duty in society: our mission, i.e. our fundamental objective, is to create wealth together. Over 90 per cent of Aktia’s shareholders are Finnish and thus we support the Finnish economy and society with the dividends.
Net interest income
Net commission income
Net income from life insurance
Total operating income
Impairment of credits and other commitments
Comparable operating income1
Comparable operating expenses1
Comparable operating profit1
Comparable cost-to-income ratio1
Earnings per share (EPS), EUR
Comparable earnings per share (EPS), EUR1
Return on equity (ROE), %
Comparable return on equity (ROE), %1
Common Equity Tier 1 capital ratio (CET1), %2
Dividend per share (proposal from Board Directors), EUR
1) Alternative performance measures excluding items affecting comparability
2) At the end of the period
Webcast from the results conference
A live webcast from the results event will take place on 18 February 2021 at 10.30 a.m. CEO Mikko Ayub and CFO Outi Henriksson will present the results. The event is held in English and can be seen live at https://aktia.videosync.fi/2020-q4-results. A recording of the webcast will be available at www.aktia.com after the event.
AKTIA BANK PLC
For more information:
Outi Henriksson, CFO, tel. +358 10 247 6236
Lotta Borgström, Director, Investor Relations and Communications, tel. +358 10 247 6838, lotta.borgstrom (at) aktia.fi
Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd
Aktia is a Finnish asset manager, bank and life insurer that has been creating wealth and wellbeing from one generation to the next for 200 years. We serve our customers in digital channels everywhere and face-to-face in our offices in the Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, Vaasa and Oulu regions. Our award-winning asset management business sells investment funds internationally. We employ approximately 830 people around Finland. Aktia's assets under management (AuM) on 31 December 2020 amounted to EUR 10.4 billion, and the balance sheet total was EUR 10.6 billion. Aktia's shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd (AKTIA). aktia.com.