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SAMPO PLC HALF-YEAR FINANCIAL REPORT 3 August 2022 at 9:35 am
SAMPO GROUP’S RESULTS FOR JANUARY–JUNE 2022
Group P&C gross written premiums grew by 7 per cent year-on-year, supported by strong renewals, high retention and rate actions.
The Group combined ratio stood strong at 81.1 per cent (80.7).
Underwriting profit increased by 3 per cent to EUR 679 million (658). Excluding COVID-19 effects reported in the first half of 2021, underwriting profit grew 17 per cent.
Profit before taxes amounted to EUR 1,066 million (1,343) and earnings per share to EUR 1.61 (1.80). Excluding all Nordea-related items, profit before taxes was EUR 806 million (983).
Group Solvency II coverage including dividend accrual increased to 233 per cent (185), driven by strong underwriting profits, the Nordea-exit and higher interest rates.
A new share buyback programme of EUR 1 billion was launched in June 2022, following the completion of the previous programmes of EUR 750 million and EUR 228 million.
Profit before taxes
Profit for the period
Earnings per share, EUR
EPS (without eo. items), EUR *)
EPS (including OCI), EUR **)
RoE (including OCI), %
*) Nordea-related accounting effects of EUR 103 million in January-June 2022 have been defined as extraordinary items in accordance with Sampo Group’s dividend policy. The comparison figures included extraordinary items of EUR 93 million.
**) OCI refers to Other comprehensive income.
The figures in this report have not been audited.
Sampo Group financial targets for 2021–2023
Mid-single digit UW profit growth annually on average (excluding COVID-19 effects)
3% (17% excluding reported COVID-19 effects in H1/2021)
Group combined ratio: below 86%
Solvency ratio: 170-190%
245% (233% including dividend accrual)
Financial leverage: below 30%
Combined ratio: below 85%
Operating ratio: below 88%
Loss ratio: below 76%
Financial targets for 2021-2023 announced at the Capital Markets Day on 24 February 2021.
January-June 2022 effects related to the COVID-19 pandemic have been very limited; hence, these will not be reported separately. For further information, please see section Other developments.
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS FOR JANUARY–JUNE 2022
Sampo Group’s core business, P&C insurance continued its strong performance and achieved an underwriting profit of EUR 679 million (658) in January-June 2022. Underwriting profit growth was 3 per cent year-on-year or 17 per cent adjusted for COVID-19 effects reported in the first half of 2021. The Group combined ratio was strong at 81.1 per cent (80.7), supported by solid underlying development and higher discount rates. The increase on prior year was driven by the unwind of COVID-19 effects, excluding which the combined ratio would have improved by 1.7 percentage points year-on-year. Gross written premiums increased by 7 per cent to EUR 4,769 million, supported by strong renewals, high retention and rate actions across the business, but particularly in Industrial lines. Sampo targets mid-single digit per cent underwriting profit growth on average and a combined ratio below 86 per cent for 2021-2023.
If P&C had a robust first half as its underwriting profit increased by 18 per cent year-on-year to EUR 522 million (442). The growth was driven by 2.2 percentage points improvement in the combined ratio to 78.9 per cent (81.1) and currency adjusted premium growth of 7.5 per cent. Premium development was supported by broad based growth, with Industrial and the Baltics seeing particularly notable positive development. If’s adjusted risk ratio improved by 0.6 percentage points year-on-year and profit before taxes increased to EUR 662 million (566).
Topdanmark’s profit before taxes decreased to EUR 60 million (208) in Sampo Group’s profit and loss account, mainly driven by investment returns being affected by the challenging market environment. The combined ratio was 84.2 per cent (82.2).
Hastings has remained disciplined in a challenging UK motor insurance market in which pricing is not keeping up with elevated market wide claims inflation. As a result, overall policy count remained broadly stable over the first half at 3.2 million, despite 22 per cent growth in the home insurance book where the company is strongly positioned. Gross written premiums grew by 6 per cent on a currency adjusted basis as Hastings increased prices to cover claims inflation. The operating ratio increased to 88.6 per cent (76.5), driven by the unwind of COVID-19 effects and high claims inflation. Hastings’ profit before taxes excluding non-operational amortisation amounted to EUR 55 million (105) and reported profit before taxes was EUR 25 million (85).
Mandatum segment’s profit before taxes for the first half of 2022 decreased to EUR 116 million (141), as the investment result was adversely affected by a reduction in realised gains. Despite positive net flows of EUR 254 million, lower market values led to a decline in Mandatum’s unit-linked and other client assets under management to EUR 10.3 billion from EUR 11.1 billion at the year-end 2021 and EUR 10.9 billion at the end of the first quarter. Mandatum Life’s Solvency II ratio grew to 255 per cent (190), driven by a sharply decreased solvency capital requirement.
Holding segment’s profit before taxes amounted to EUR 203 million (343), including a dividend of EUR 157 million from Nordea and a gain of EUR 103 million from selling all the remaining Nordea shares during the first half of 2022.
On 9 June 2022, Sampo launched a third buyback programme of EUR 1 billion, starting on 10 June and ending no later than 8 February 2023. In addition Sampo announced that management intends to propose to the Board of Directors a second distribution of capital in the form of a share buyback programme or extra dividend, or a combination thereof, in connection with the publication of the 2022 financial result. Prior to the launch of the latest buyback programme, Sampo had already completed its first two buyback programmes. In total, Sampo repurchased 15.7 million shares for a total of EUR 687 million in the first half.
Sampo Group’s Solvency II ratio increased to 233 per cent from 185 per cent at the end of 2021 and 200 per cent at the end of March 2022, net of dividend accrual based on the 2021 insurance dividend of EUR 1.70 per share and the new buyback programme of EUR 1 billion. The increase of 33 percentage points from the end of the first quarter was driven by robust underwriting profit, the Nordea-exit and higher interest rates. Sampo targets a solvency ratio of 170-190 per cent.
Sampo Group’s financial leverage increased to 29.2 per cent from 23.8 per cent at the end of 2021 and 24.8 per cent at the end of March 2022. The increase was driven by the payment of the annual dividend, executed share buybacks and adverse asset value development taken through other comprehensive income. Sampo targets a financial leverage below 30 per cent.
SECOND QUARTER 2022 IN BRIEF
In April-June 2022, Sampo Group reported profit before taxes of EUR 499 million (710) and earnings per share of EUR 0.75 (0.99). Excluding the positive accounting effect from the Nordea-exit, which will be defined as extraordinary in accordance with Sampo Group’s dividend policy, profit before taxes amounted to EUR 424 million and EPS to EUR 0.61. The total comprehensive income, taking changes in the market value of assets into account, decreased to EUR -292 million (745) due to the adverse development in the financial markets. EPS including OCI amounted to EUR -0.57 (1.27).
The Group’s underwriting profit increased by 14 per cent year-on-year to EUR 389 million (341). Excluding COVID-19 effects reported in the comparison period, underwriting profit grew by 29 per cent. The Group combined ratio amounted to 78.9 per cent (80.2).
If P&C’s profit before taxes increased to EUR 379 million (309), while underwriting profit increased by 26 per cent to EUR 288 million (229). If’s combined ratio improved to 77.1 per cent (80.7) and gross written premiums increased 8.4 per cent on a currency adjusted basis. Excluding the impact of large losses, severe weather, reported COVID-19 effects and prior year development, the adjusted risk ratio improved by 0.5 percentage points year-on-year.
Topdanmark’s profit before taxes decreased to EUR 23 million (71) and the combined ratio increased to 80.7 per cent (79.7).
Hastings’ profit before taxes amounted to EUR 23 million (38) and the operating ratio was 85.5 per cent (78.8). Live customer policy count was broadly stable over the quarter as growth in home insurance was offset by a disciplined approach to underwriting in motor insurance.
Mandatum segment’s profit before taxes decreased to EUR 35 million (65).
GROUP CEO’S COMMENT
Our performance in the first half of 2022 showed the benefits of our resilient P&C insurance business, diversification and strong balance sheet, allowing us to deliver robust results despite challenging capital markets and macroeconomic conditions. We were also able to reach a key strategic milestone by completing the exit from Nordea and we continued to return excess capital.
Our P&C insurance operations delivered a very strong result for the first half of 2022, particularly in the Nordics where If P&C achieved currency adjusted premium growth of 7.5 per cent, a combined ratio of 78.9 per cent and growth in underwriting profit of 18 per cent. At Group-level, we are tracking well ahead of all our financial targets.
The Nordic P&C insurance market remains competitive but disciplined, supporting necessary rate increases. As expected, claims inflation has ticked up over the past quarter and now stands at just above four per cent, but this has been prudently covered with rate increases. We continue to monitor claims trends carefully and will react with further price adjustments, should these be needed.
If P&C’s Nordic Industrial business has had an excellent first half of the year, with currency adjusted premium growth of 23 per cent and a combined ratio of 85.6 per cent. Conditions in the Nordic Industrial market are currently compelling following a withdrawal of capacity by some competitors, which has allowed us to increase rates to attractive levels over recent years. We have a leading position in Nordic Industrial lines, supported by long-term relationships with our customers, differentiated technical skills and substantial economies of scale.
Looking to the UK, conditions are more challenging, with competitive pricing and high claims inflation in the motor market. Despite this, our UK subsidiary Hastings has delivered a robust January–June 2022 result with price-led currency adjusted premium growth of 6 per cent and a solid operating ratio of 88.6 per cent. The relatively strong performance reflects Hastings’ commitment to underwriting discipline, aligned with that of the broader Sampo Group, and its positioning as a modern insurer with a lean and agile operating platform. Looking to the second half of 2022, we will remain focused on increasing rates to protect margins in motor insurance, while looking for opportunities to build on the 22 per cent growth we achieved in home insurance.
Turning to the asset side of the balance sheet, the picture in the first half of the year was mixed from Sampo’s perspective. The broad sell-off observed in the period has had a negative impact on mark-to-market investment returns, although the effect has been mitigated by the exit from Nordea. It is on the asset side that Sampo has seen the main effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; even though we have no direct investment exposures to the region, the conflict is adding to capital markets volatility.
On a more positive note, Sampo is well-positioned to benefit from higher interest rates, due to the short duration of our fixed income portfolio. We have seen an increase in the running yield of our Nordic P&C fixed income portfolio by 0.5 percentage points to 2.1 per cent over the second quarter, and we expect it to continue to rise over 2022 and 2023, assuming yields stay at least at current levels.
Following the exit from Nordea, Sampo is in an excess capital position; in line with our commitment to running an efficient balance sheet, we therefore launched a EUR 1 billion share buyback programme in June. Before this latest programme, we had already returned EUR 1 billion capital via two earlier share buyback programmes and EUR 2.2 billion through the 2021 dividend.
To conclude, I am pleased with what we have achieved in the first half of 2022 and consider the Group to be in a strong position to create shareholder value going forward.
Group CEO and President
Outlook for 2022
Sampo Group’s P&C insurance operations are expected to achieve underwriting margins that meet the annual targets set for 2021-2023. At Group level, Sampo targets a combined ratio of below 86 per cent, while the target for its largest subsidiary, If P&C, is below 85 per cent. Hastings targets an operating ratio of below 88 per cent. Following strong performance in the first half, the outlook for If P&C’s 2022 combined ratio has been improved to 80.5–82.5 per cent from 82-84 per cent at the end of the first quarter.
The combined and operating ratios of Sampo Group’s P&C insurance operations are subject to volatility driven by, among other factors, seasonal weather patterns, large claims, prior year development and fluctuations in claims frequency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These effects are particularly relevant for individual segments and business areas, such as the Danish and UK operations.
The mark-to-market component of investment returns will be significantly influenced by capital markets’ developments, particularly in life insurance.
With regard to Topdanmark, reference is made to the profit forecast model that the company publishes on a quarterly basis.
The major risks and uncertainties for the Group in the near-term
In its current day-to-day business activities Sampo Group is exposed to various risks and uncertainties, mainly through its major business units.
Major risks affecting the Group companies’ profitability and its variation are market, credit, insurance and operational risks. At the Group level, sources of risks are the same, although they are not directly additive due to the effects of diversification.
Uncertainties in the form of major unforeseen events may have an immediate impact on the Group’s profitability. The identification of unforeseen events is easier than the estimation of their probabilities, timing, and potential outcomes. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic a combination of fiscal and monetary stimulus, supply chain problems and elevated demand for consumer goods have led to high levels of inflation, with energy and product prices being particularly affected. During 2022 the war in Ukraine has created a new negative supply shock for the global economy. As a result, inflation pressures have intensified and broadened forcing central banks to start tightening monetary policy, which may lead to both a significant slowdown in economic growth and a deterioration in the debt service capacity of businesses, households and governments. These developments are currently causing significant uncertainties on economic and capital market development. There are also a number of widely identified macroeconomic, political and other sources of uncertainty which can, in various ways, affect the financial services industry in a negative manner.
Other sources of uncertainty are unforeseen structural changes in the business environment and already identified trends and potential wide-impact events. These external drivers may have a long-term impact on how Sampo Group’s business will be conducted. Examples of identified trends are demographic changes, sustainability issues, and technological developments in areas such as artificial intelligence and digitalisation including threats posed by cybercrime.
Exit from Nordea
On 29 April 2022, Sampo sold its remaining Nordea holding through an accelerated bookbuild offering of 200 million shares. Before the bookbuild offering, Sampo had already sold 19 million shares in open market in the first quarter and 27 million shares in the second quarter of 2022.
The transactions generated total gross proceeds of EUR 2.3 billion, of which EUR 2.1 billion was raised in the second quarter. The positive accounting effect from the transactions on Sampo’s consolidated statement of profit and loss was EUR 103 million, of which EUR 75 million was booked for the second quarter. The effect will be treated as an extraordinary item in the calculation of Sampo’s dividend payout ratio for 2022.
Return of excess capital
In connection with the completion of the Nordea exit on 29 April 2022, Sampo disclosed that management intends to propose to the Board that a new share buyback programme is launched after the Annual General Meeting on 18 May 2022, subject to the AGM renewing the Board authorisation on share repurchases.
On 9 June 2022, Sampo’s Board resolved to launch a EUR 1 billion buyback programme based on the authorisation granted by the Annual General Meeting. The maximum number of shares that can be repurchased is 30 million, corresponding to 5.6 per cent of the total number of shares in Sampo. The buyback programme started on 10 June 2022 and will end no later than 8 February 2023.
In addition, Sampo announced that the management intends to propose to the Board of Directors a second distribution of capital in the form of a share buyback programme or extra dividend, or a combination thereof, in connection with the publication of the 2022 financial result on 10 February 2023.
Effects of external events on Sampo Group
The geopolitical uncertainty continued in the second quarter, driven partly by Russia's invasion into Ukraine. Sampo Group’s insurance exposures in the affected region are limited to certain Nordic industrial lines clients, with coverage subject to war exclusions. On the asset side, Sampo has no material direct investments in Russia or Ukraine.
Given the limited direct exposure, the biggest risk from the war in Ukraine to Sampo relates to second order capital markets and macroeconomic effects. Volatility and uncertainty in the capital markets have continued to increase during the second quarter. The Group carries substantial market risk exposures via its strategic investments and through insurance company investment portfolios and liabilities, which may be adversely affected by market shocks. This risk taking is supported by financial buffers calibrated to withstand volatility, and Sampo operated above its target financial strength levels at the end of the second quarter.
Macroeconomic effects could also have an impact on Sampo’s operational business, for example by reducing economic growth, aggravating supply chain problems and inflating commodity prices. These considerations are particularly relevant as supply chain disruption and high inflation had already become established prior to the invasion following the COVID-19 pandemic and associated monetary and fiscal stimulus programmes. Sampo's insurance business has continued to be resilient to these effects again in the second quarter.
In the Nordic and Baltic countries, COVID-19 effects in the second quarter were materially below the levels observed over 2021. Given the limited impact of COVID-19 and the increasing difficulty in reliably estimating associated effects, Sampo no longer discloses quantitative COVID-19 effects in 2022 financial reporting.
Board of Directors
For more information, please contact
Knut Arne Alsaker, Group CFO, tel. +358 10 516 0010
Sami Taipalus, Head of Investor Relations, tel. +358 10 516 0030
Maria Silander, Communications Manager, Media Relations, tel. +358 10 516 0031
An English-language conference call for investors and analysts will be arranged at 4 pm Finnish time (2 pm UK time). Please call tel. +1 631 913 1422, +44 33 3300 0804, +46 8 5664 2651, or +358 9 8171 0310.
The conference code is 90572124#.
The conference call can also be followed live at www.sampo.com/result. A recorded version will later be available at the same address.
In addition, the Investor Presentation is available at www.sampo.com/result.
Sampo will publish the Interim Statement for January-September 2022 on 2 November 2022.
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