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Banca del Gottardo: Declining Results - Changes in Corporate Strategy and Organisation Structure


Results reported by the Banca del Gottardo Group for 2001 showed good resilience at the recurring level, despite unfavourable conditions affecting banks specialised in private banking. Despite a negative trend in equity markets, the bank's core segments of investment and wealth management turned in a satisfactory performance, with revenues totalling 295 million Swiss francs, only slightly (-8.5%) below the exceptional level of the previous year. Client assets under management reached 42.6 billion Swiss francs, down 1.7% from year-end 2000. Unfavourable market conditions resulted in a sharp decline in trading income and, more significantly, in valuation adjustments on a number of equity holdings. The Lugano-based bank has completed significant upgrades and investments on the basis of a corporate strategy adopted in 1999. Banca del Gottardo thus improved its positioning on domestic and international target markets as well as its business and operating infrastructure. In view of a changed business climate the bank has overhauled its corporate strategy and adopted a revised organisation structure.
Against a background of adverse financial market conditions results from interest operations turned out to be satisfactory, reaching 165 million Swiss francs (down 3.5% from 2000). This highlights the quality of the loan portfolio as well as the positive contribution from balance-sheet management and treasury activities, despite a changed interest rate environment. Results from trading operations fell compared to the year 2000 (-74%), due mainly to valuation adjustments on a small number of equity holdings, whereas trading income from currencies and structured products held steady.

The Banca del Gottardo Group's net revenues reached 485 million Swiss francs in 2001, down 18.5% from the previous year. The establishment of Banca del Gottardo Italia SpA, the purchase and integration of WestLB (Schweiz) AG, and the realisation of important logistics and IT projects essentially marked the completion of strategic expansion plans, contributing to a 14.2% increase in operating expenses to 344 million Swiss francs. Consolidated gross profit fell by 50% to 141 million Swiss francs and net profit to 36.4 million Swiss francs.

On Feb. 28th, the Board of Directors adopted the revised corporate strategy and a new organisation and management structure. Thanks to the investments carried out in the past, the bank started the new year with a significantly strengthened market position and business platform.

The top echelons of the new organisation structure will consist of three Operating Divisions, Financial and Risk Management and a Group Corporate Center. CEO Marco Netzer will be joined on the Group Executive Board by Executive Directors Nicola Mordasini (Client Services), Antonello Sergi (Investment Services), Luca Soncini (Group Corporate Centre) and newly-appointed Walter Etter (IT & Operations) and Thomas Müller (Financial & Risk Management). To ensure better and more efficient client servicing, the existing business units will be regrouped under the Client Services Division, which will consist of four Main Departments (Ticino, Switzerland, International and "Specialised Customer Services"). The implementation process will get under way by the end of March and will be completed by the end of June.

The Board of Directors and the Executive Board firmly believe that these prompt and consistent actions create the best possible prerequisites for the challenges ahead.

For information:
Banca del Gottardo
Franco Rogantini
Media Relations
Viale S. Franscini 8
CH-6901 Lugano

Tel. +41 91 808 33 60
Fax +41 91 923 94 33