For the first time, the consolidated Group accounts are based on IAS and consolidated net profit shows an increase from CHF 447 to 924 million (+ 106.7%). This extraordinary result was achieved after a major strengthening of the technical provisions.
Markedly higher financial result
The excellent result was the outcome of both business operations and also overall investment performance. Whereas direct income rose almost parallel to the volume of investments by CHF 0.52 to 5.77 billion, realised and unrealised net gains from in-vestment activities increased substantially from CHF 1.49 to 4.13 billion. The proceeds from the exchange of Crédit Commercial de France (CCF) shares into HSBC stock totalled CHF 458 million after tax. Moreover, substantial gains were realised at a time which can now be considered as extremely favourable. The overall financial result rose by 49% to CHF 10.42 billion. Assets under management also developed very favourably. Swiss Life/Rentenanstalt managed Group-wide assets totalling CHF 214.4 billion at the end of 2000. This is equal to an increase of CHF 25.1 billion or 13.2%.
Above-average premium increase abroad
Gross premiums rose to CHF 19.32 billion, an increase of 7.2 % without monetary influences of 10.2 %. This includes policyholder investment contracts in the amount of CHF 4.66 billion, in other words income from the sale of funds and investment products. This increase shows that competition between insurance saving and other forms of investment, in particular investment funds, has further accentuated. The share of foreign business increased to 52% thanks to premium growth of more than 20% at the European branch offices and subsidiaries, particularly in France, Great Britain and Spain, and as a result of a decline of 4.3% in domestic business operations. Accordingly, the strategic goal of generating more than half of all premiums abroad in 2000 has been reached.
Further rise in insurance benefits
Overall insurance benefits rose by 17.6% to CHF 11.55 billion. This increase was especially prominent in the life sector with 19.5%. The reason for this can be found primarily in Swiss business operations, where additional benefits became payable in the group insurance sector as well as extraordinary endowment sums in connection with a product launched in 1982, which has expired for the main part.
Operating expenses rose by 29.4 % to CHF 3.44 billion. This increase is mainly the result of one-off special factors, such as the first full-year consolidation of Schweizerische Treuhandgesellschaft, which was acquired on January 1st, 2000, and Banca del Gottardo, acquired in 1999, as well as the CCF/HSBC subsidiary Erisa in France. Furthermore, the increase in operating expenses also reflects investments in IT and Internet projects as well as in the expansion of investment management, where various companies were included in the 2000 figures for the first time.
Embedded value clearly shows financial strength
For the very first time, the Swiss Life/Rentenanstalt Group presented its embedded value, in other words the value of insurance business in force. For the year 2000, it amounts to CHF 10.58 billion and comprises restated shareholders' equity of CHF 5.69 billion and the cash value of future profits equalling CHF 4.89 billion. Only the book values (without any surplus values) of the non-life and non-insurance companies belonging to the Group were included.
Higher regular and additional extraordinary dividend
Together with the also very pleasing technical result, the financial result forms the basis for the payment of dividends. The Board of Directors proposes to the general meeting on June 15, 2001 the payment of a regular gross dividend of CHF 13 (a CHF 2 increase compared to the previous year) as well as an extraordinary gross dividend of CHF 5 per dividend bearing share.
Changes on the Board of Directors
Riccardo Jagmetti and Erwin Reinhardt will retire from the Board of Directors at the general meeting on June 15, 2001. The Board of Directors proposes to the general meeting that Henri B. Meier be appointed as a new member to Swiss Life/Rentenanstalt's Board of Directors.