UNIQA Group Austria Profit Up 31.4% in First Quarter

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UNIQA Group Austria Profit Up 31.4% in First Quarter

The UNIQA Group Austria continued consistently along its earnings-oriented growth course and visibly improved Group results in 2006.

Profit before taxes, at €238.5, 25.3% higher than in 2005. Annual net profit rose by 31.4% to €175.1 million. This results in a Group profit after minority stakes of €151.9 million (+41.0%). Earnings per share after taxes climbed to €1.29, following €0.94 in the previous year.

As a result of the profit situation, an increase in dividends from 26 cents to 35 cents will be proposed at the annual general meeting. This means an increase of 34.6% and a payout ratio of 27.5%.

Gross return on equity (ROE) also reached a new peak in 2006 of 20.8% (2005: 19.7%).

In 2006 Group premiums written (including the saving portion of premiums from unit-linked and index-linked life insurance) were at €5,091.4 million, 7.6% above the amount of the previous year. At €1,670.9 million, already 32.8% of premium volume comes from the countries outside of Austria.

Of the total Group premiums, 42.5% were contributed by life insurance, 40.0% by property and casualty insurance and 17.5% by health insurance.

At 5.8%, the sales profitability of the UNIQA Group was one percentage point higher in 2006 than in 2005.

Contrary to premiums, the insurance benefits sank in total by 1.6% to €3,715.6 million, despite the claims relating to heavy snow at the start of 2006.

On the other hand, thanks to the consistent implementation of the profit improvement programme, costs only rose under proportionally in relation to the premiums, resulting in a clearly lower Group cost ratio of 20.9% (2005: 21.5%).

The combined ratio (gross) in property and casualty insurance could be reduced in the course of the lower cost and loss ratios to 95.4% (2005: 98.2%).

With €21,155.2 million in investments, UNIQA is the largest asset manager amongst the Austrian insurance companies.

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