Private customers’ unchanged strong focus on liquidity-oriented investments affected the development of the AWD Group in the first quarter of 2009 more than had been anticipated. Above all in the United Kingdom and Austria, business developments were disappointing in the months of January to March 2009. In a difficult market environment, however, the up-front business in the Germany region was encouragingly stable. Revenue in Switzerland increased slightly. The AWD Group’s total revenue in the period under review amounted to €133.4 million (-21.3%). The unexpectedly sharp drop in Group revenue had a negative effect on earnings. First-quarter EBIT amounted to minus €6.0 million, and was thus significantly below the result for the prior-year quarter of plus €19.2 million. The net loss for the period under review amounted to minus €5.5 million (Q1 2008: net profit of €14.1 million).
As a consequence of these results, AWD has initiated intensive efficiency-improving actions, whereby all cost components will be examined. For example, AWD’s role as name sponsor of the AWD Dome, a multifunction hall in Bremen, will be terminated at the end of the year. The sponsorship of Eintracht Frankfurt, a Bundesliga football club will end at the middle of the year. Furthermore, the sponsoring of the DFB-Cup will already be discontinued following this year Cup final on May 30th. Other such activities will be reviewed. The Group’s commitment as name sponsor of the AWD Arena in Hanover is not in doubt, however.
In Austria, a first decisive step has been taken towards AWD’s new positioning with the new appointment of former Bank Austria board of management member Dr. Ralph Müller as a new member of AWD’s Board of Management with responsibility for AWD Austria and AWD CEE. “From the starting point of an anticipated market improvement and the rapid implementation of the efficiency actions we have initiated, we are affirming our medium-term goals,” stated Manfred Behrens, Chairman of the Board of Management (CEO) of the AWD Group: “In 2012, the AWD Group aims to achieve revenue of about €1 billion and an operating profit (EBIT) of €130 million.”
A total of 140,400 customers were advised in the first three months of the year 2009, and new-customer acquisitions remained at the high level of 40,400 customers advised for the first time. 100,000 existing customers were advised once again by AWD in the first quarter of this year.
The AWD Group succeeded in raising the total number of sales representatives active for the Group by 305 to 9,851 (+3.2% in comparison with Q1 2008). In addition to sales representatives in training and tied agents (Proventus), the AWD Group also has 5,376 registered advisers as non-exclusive agents as defined by the EU Insurance Mediation Directive or corresponding local requirements. That number has increased significantly in the past twelve months.
A detailed corporate release can be downloaded (in German) from www.AWD-Group.de. AWD’s quarterly report for Q1 2009 will be published on 14 May 2009.
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