Baloise achieves profit of CHF 437 million

Basel, Baloise underscored its excellent business position in 2012 by earning a profit of CHF 436.6 million for the period. Its equity of CHF 4.8 billion and its outstanding solvency ratio of 277 per cent are proof positive of the Company's strength.
A dividend of CHF 4.50 per share – a high level that has been consistent for the past six years – will be proposed to the Annual General Meeting on 2 May 2013. This puts Baloise among the best dividend payers for the current year with a dividend yield of 5.7 per cent.

The key performance indicators for the 2012 financial* year are as follow:

  • Total business volume CHF 8,358.3 million
    (31 December 2011: CHF 8,144.5 million; up 3.8 per cent in local-currency terms)
  • Profit for the period CHF 436.6 million
    (31 December 2011: CHF 61.3 million; up more than 100 per cent)
  • Equity CHF 4,872.8 million
    (31 December 2011: CHF 3,893.6 million; up 25.1 per cent)
  • Solvency ratio 277 per cent
    (31 December 2011: 203 per cent)
  • Combined ratio (net) 94.1 per cent
    (31 December 2011: 95.5 per cent)
  • New business margin (life) 8.9 per cent
    (31 December 2011: 10.2 per cent)

Martin Strobel, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Baloise Group, commented: "Baloise has operated as a safe, reliable and profitable partner for the past 150 years. Our robust financial results can be attributed to our extremely strong insurance business and the high level of income from our investments. Our 'Baloise 2012' strategic growth and earnings enhancement programme has boosted our long-term profitability by CHF 214 million. I am delighted to be able to propose yet another highly attractive dividend to our shareholders. In recent years we have built a solid platform, which we are now gradually developing and refining."

Summary: The Baloise Group generated a profit of CHF 436.6 million for 2012. The profit of CHF 61.3 million reported for 2011 had been impacted by exceptional adverse effects arising from the financial and economic crisis. All business divisions and all regional units contributed to this profit. The non-life business once again demonstrated its strong operational profitability, achieving a net combined ratio of 94.1 per cent (2011: 95.5 per cent). The margin on new life insurance business declined to 8.9 per cent (2011: 10.2 per cent). The banking business managed to replicate its impressive prior-year results. The 'Baloise 2012' strategic growth and earnings enhancement programme was brought to a successful conclusion, having contributed CHF 214 million to the Baloise Group's long-term profitability. The total business volume came to CHF 8,358.3 million (2011: CHF 8,144.5 million), which was an increase of 2.6 per cent in Swiss francs and 3.8 per cent in local-currency terms.

Balance sheet: Baloise has a strong balance sheet. Its consolidated equity grew by 25.1 per cent to CHF 4,872.8 million (31 December 2011: CHF 3,893.6 million). Its solvency ratio was an outstanding 277 per cent compared with 203 per cent in 2011.

Investments: Baloise achieved impressive gains on its investments. The return on insurance investments rose sharply from 2.8 per cent in 2011 to 6.6 per cent in 2012. Net income advanced by 43 per cent year on year to CHF 1,947.6 million (2011: CHF 1,359.1 million). This amounted to a net return of 3.5 per cent.

Business units: Basler Switzerland consolidated its strong market position by delivering an outstanding operating performance that included a combined ratio of 83.8 per cent and solid earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) from its life insurance business. Although all business units in the European national markets contributed to the profit for the period, some of them are still being hampered by integration costs. Following the rebranding of its units in Germany and Belgium, Baloise has been operating under a single brand across all markets since the beginning of 2013.

Outlook: Baloise remains true to its strengths, striving to achieve quality growth by focusing on risk-conscious target customers and target partners and by prioritising sustainable value. To that end, it will continue to build on what it has already achieved. The measures that Baloise takes over the next few years will concentrate on four areas: generating above-average growth in its target segments, improving its efficiency, enhancing the long-term value of its life insurance business at a time of low interest rates, and optimising its non-life operations by further developing its risk management capabilities. In future it will continue to focus on its high-quality and profitable insurance business. Baloise therefore aims to achieve a combined ratio of between 93 per cent and 96 per cent in its non-life business, while in its life insurance it is looking to attain a new business margin in excess of 10 per cent. As far as its operational profitability is concerned, Baloise plans to achieve a return on equity of between 8 per cent and 12 per cent and to continue its practice of paying consistent, attractive dividends.

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, the Baloise Group is a European provider of insurance and pension solutions and has positioned itself as a market player that offers an intelligent 'Safety World' prevention strategy. In Switzerland the Company operates as a focused financial services provider, offering a combination of insurance and banking services. It also has a market presence in Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg. Its distribution network includes its own sales organisation as well as brokers and other partners. The Company uses its competence centre in Luxembourg to run its business in innovative pension products for private customers throughout Europe. Bâloise Holding Ltd shares are listed in the main segment of the SIX Swiss Exchange. The Baloise Group employs some 7,400 people.