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Sampo Group's results for 2015

Sampo Group's profit before taxes improved in all business areas in 2015 and amounted to a record high EUR 1,888 million (1,759). The total comprehensive income for the period, taking changes in the market value of assets into account, increased to EUR 1,564 million (1,179). P&C insurance and Nordea reported highest ever profits before taxes.

  • Earnings per share amounted to EUR 2.96 (2.75). Mark-to-market earnings per share were EUR 2.79 (2.11). The return on equity for the Group increased to 14.0 per cent for 2015 (10.9). Net asset value per share on 31 December 2015 was EUR 23.79 (22.63).
  • The Board proposes to the Annual General Meeting to be held on 21 April 2016 a dividend of EUR 2.15 per share (1.95). The proposed dividend payment amounts in total to EUR 1,204 million (1,092).
  • Profit before taxes for the P&C insurance amounted to EUR 960 million (931). Combined ratio for the full year 2015 decreased to 85.4 per cent (87.7). Even adjusted for non-recurring items the combined ratio was better than ever before at 86.5 per cent. Return on equity (RoE) increased to 21.5 per cent (18.1). Adjusted for currency gross written premiums grew 0.4 per cent. The contribution of Topdanmark's net profit for 2015 amounted to EUR 43 million (53).
  • Sampo's share of Nordea's net profit for 2015 amounted to EUR 751 million (680). Nordea's RoE rose to 12.3 per cent (11.5) and core Tier 1 ratio (excluding transition rules) strengthened to 16.5 per cent (15.7). In segment reporting the share of Nordea's profit is included in the segment 'Holding'. Nordea's Board of Directors proposes to the AGM 2016 a dividend of EUR 0.64 per share (0.62). If the AGM approves the Board's dividend proposal, Sampo plc will receive a dividend of EUR 551 million from Nordea on 30 March 2016.
  • In life insurance operations profit before taxes rose to EUR 181 million (163). Return on equity (RoE) amounted to 12.7 per cent (11.4). Premium income on own account increased to EUR 1,144 million (1,105). The reserve for lower discount rates was further strengthened by EUR 109 million during 2015. The rates used for 2016, 2017 and 2018 are 1.0 per cent, 1.25 per cent, and 2.25 per cent, respectively.
KEY FIGURES 2015 2014 Change, % Q4/2015 Q4/2014 Change, %
EURm            
Profit before taxes 1,888 1,759 7 413 447 -8
  P&C insurance 960 931 3 204 219 -7
  Associate (Nordea) 751 680 10 173 179 -3
  Life insurance 181 163 11 48 50 -4
  Holding (excl. Nordea) -1 -12 -89 -13 -1 824
Profit for the period 1,656 1,540 8 364 391 -7
      Change     Change
Earnings per share, EUR 2.96 2.75 0.21 0.65 0.70 -0.05
EPS (incl. change in FVR), EUR 2.79 2.11 0.68  

0.95
 

0.14
 

0.81
NAV per share, EUR  23.79 22.63 1.16 - - -
Average number of staff (FTE) 6,755 6,739 16  

-
 

-
 

-
Group solvency ratio, % 192.6 187.4 5.2 - - -
RoE, % 14.0 10.9 3.1 - - -

Income statement items are compared on a year-on-year basis and comparison figures for balance sheet items are from 31 December 2014 unless otherwise stated.

Sampo follows the disclosure procedure enabled by the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority and hereby publishes its Financial Statement Release attached as a PDF file to this stock exchange release. The Financial Statement Release is also available at www.sampo.com/result.

Exchange rates used in reporting 1-12/2015 1-9/2015 1-6/2015 1-3/2015 1-12/2014
EUR 1 = SEK          
Income statement (average) 9.3534 9.3709 9.3416 9.3805 9.1011
Balance sheet (at end of period) 9.1895 9.4083 9.2150 9.2901 9.3930
DKK 1 = SEK          
Income statement (average) 1.2542 1.2567 1.2530 1.2593 1.2205
Balance sheet (at end of period) 1.2314 1.2612 1.2352 1.2437 1.2616
NOK 1 = SEK          
Income statement (average) 1.0475 1.0646 1.0809 1.0746 1.0893
Balance sheet (at end of period) 0.9570 0.9878 1.0482 1.0674 1.0388

FOURTH QUARTER IN BRIEF

Sampo Group's profit before taxes for the fourth quarter of 2015 was EUR 413 million (447). Earnings per share amounted to EUR 0.65 (0.70). Mark-to-market earnings per share were EUR 0.95 (0.14). Net asset value per share rose to EUR 23.79 (22.63).

Combined ratio for the P&C insurance operation in the fourth quarter amounted to 87.7 per cent (87.1). Profit before taxes decreased to EUR 204 million (219). Share of the profits of the associated company Topdanmark amounted to EUR 6 million (9).

 Sampo's share of Nordea's fourth quarter 2015 net profit amounted to EUR 173 million (179). Nordea's Group core tier 1 capital ratio, excluding transition rules, rose to 16.5 per cent (15.7) at the end of the year.

Profit before taxes for the life insurance operations amounted to EUR 48 million (50). Mandatum Life continued to strengthen its technical reserves due to low level of interest rates. Premiums written decreased from EUR 333 million to EUR 306 million.

BUSINESS AREAS

P&C insurance

Profit before taxes for January-December 2015 for the P&C insurance operations increased to EUR 960 million (931). Combined ratio improved to 85.4 per cent (87.7) while risk ratio deteriorated to 66.6 per cent (65.1). Excluding the non-recurring items, combined ratio for 2015 was 86.5 per cent. In Sampo Group's 2015 accounts the contribution of Topdanmark's net profit amounted to EUR 43 million (53).

Technical reserves relating to prior year claims were strengthened by EUR 61 million in January - December 2015 (EUR 2 million released in the previous year). Return on equity (RoE) increased to 21.5 per cent (18.1) and the fair value reserve on 31 December 2015 amounted to EUR 391 million (507).

Technical result increased to EUR 657 million (588). Insurance margin (technical result in relation to net premiums earned) improved to 15.1 per cent (13.2).

The lowering of the annuities discount rate in Finland during the second quarter of 2015 affected all business areas' results negatively and weakened the Finnish country specific result in 2015. Business area Industrial suffered from a negative large claims outcome in the fourth quarter of the year, particularly in Norway, resulting in EUR 45 million worse than expected large claims outcome in 2015 and a 10.4 percentage points weaker combined ratio than a year before. Total large claims ended up EUR 32 million worse than expected in 2015.

In Sweden, combined ratio improved by 7.8 percentage points supported by a positive large claims outcome compared to the previous year. Swedish discount rate used to discount the annuity reserves decreased to 0.41 per cent by the end of December 2015 and had a negative effect of EUR 12 million for full-year 2015 and a EUR 1 million positive effect in the fourth quarter of 2015 results.

Gross written premiums decreased to EUR 4,559 million (4,634) in 2015. Adjusted for currency, premium growth was slightly positive. Growth was positive in business areas Private and Baltic, and negative in business areas Commercial and Industrial. Geographically, gross written premiums grew by 5 per cent in Sweden, while the growth was slightly negative in Norway and Denmark and stable in Finland.

Cost ratio improved to 18.8 per cent (22.5) and expense ratio to 13.0 per cent (16.7), both impacted by the positive effect of the non-recurring reform of the pension system in If Norway booked in the second quarter of the year. Excluding the non-recurring item the cost ratio was 22.3 per cent and expense ratio 16.6 per cent.

On 31 December 2015, the total investment assets of If P&C amounted to EUR 11.4 billion (11.5), of which fixed income investments constituted 74 per cent (75), money market 12 per cent (13) and equity 13 per cent (12). Net income from investments amounted to EUR 304 million (353). Investment return marked-to-market for the full year 2015 decreased to 1.5 per cent (4.1) as a result of widening credit spreads towards the end of the year. Duration for interest bearing assets was 1.2 years (1.0) and average maturity 2.6 years (2.4). Fixed income running yield as at 31 December 2015 was 1.8 per cent (2.4).

Associated company Nordea Bank AB

On 31 December 2015 Sampo plc held 860,440,497 Nordea shares corresponding to a holding of 21.25 per cent. The average price paid per share amounted to EUR 6.46 and the book value in the Group accounts was EUR 8.49 per share. The closing price as at 30 December 2015 was EUR 10.15.

Nordea's Board of Directors proposes to the AGM 2016 a dividend of EUR 0.64 per share (0.62). The Board has also decided on a new dividend policy: Nordea strives to maintain a strong capital position in line with Nordea's capital policy. The ambition is to achieve a yearly increase in the dividend per share.

If the AGM approves the Board's dividend proposal, Sampo plc will receive a dividend of EUR 551 million from Nordea on 30 March 2016.

2015 was a challenging year with exceptionally low interest rates, geopolitical tensions and market turmoil. Under these market conditions Nordea reported an increase in the income level of 3 per cent in local currencies (1 per cent in euros) and delivered a reduction of 4 per cent in costs to EUR 4.7 billion in line Nordea's target. In addition, the credit quality improved during the year. Consequently, the operating income was up 9 per cent in local currencies (7 per cent in euros) from last year excluding non-recurring items.

Net interest income was down 4 per cent in local currencies (-7 per cent in euros) from last year. Net interest income was under severe pressure due to lower interest rates, while the savings operations were the main growth driver.

Net fee and commission income increased 8 per cent in local currencies (6 per cent in euros) and the net result from items at fair value increased by 19 per cent in local currencies (20 per cent in euros) from last year.

Total expenses were down 1 per cent in local currencies (-4 per cent in euros) compared from previous year excluding non-recurring items. Staff costs were up 4 per cent in local currencies excluding restructuring costs.

The cost-to-income ratio for continuing operations improved 2.2 percentage points to 47.1 per cent which is the best ratio Nordea has ever reported.

Net loan loss provisions decreased to EUR 479 million, corresponding to a loan loss ratio of 14 basis points (15 basis points for full year 2014).

Net profit increased 11 per cent in local currencies (9 per cent in euros) to EUR 3,662 million.

The Group's Basel III Common equity tier 1 (CET1) capital ratio increased to 16.5 per cent at the end of the fourth quarter from 16.3 per cent at the end of the third quarter 2015. The CET1 capital ratio increase was due to reduced REA, somewhat offset by decreased CET1 capital.

The coming three years will be a transition period in which Nordea will execute on transformational change agenda in order to generate a truly digital bank. The bank will initiate certain key activities to manage the transition efficiently, which led to a restructuring charge of EUR 263 million in the fourth quarter. Together with the investments in Nordea's core banking platform, the outcome of this transformational agenda will lead to a more efficient and straightforward structure and reduce administrative complexity.

As communicated in the Q2 2015 report, Nordea is working on simplifying its legal structure with the aim to change the Norwegian, Danish and Finnish subsidiary banks to branches of the Swedish parent company by means of cross-border mergers. The preparations are progressing as planned including the ability to present a proposal to the AGM in March. The changes to the legal structure depend among other on regulatory approvals and a satisfactory outcome of discussion with the local authorities.

For more information on Nordea Bank AB and its results for 2015, see www.nordea.com.

Life insurance

Profit before taxes for life insurance operations in 2015 amounted to EUR 181 million (163). The total comprehensive income for the period after tax reflecting the changes in market values of assets was EUR 168 million (149). Return on equity (RoE) amounted to 12.7 per cent (11.4). Without the net additions of EUR 109 million to the discount rate reserve made during 2015, RoE would have been 18.5 per cent.

Total technical reserves of Mandatum Life Group increased to EUR 10.9 billion (10.4). The unit-linked reserves grew to EUR 5.9 billion (5.3) at the end of 2015, which corresponds to 54 per cent (51) of total technical reserves. With profit reserves continued to decrease during 2015 and amounted to EUR 5.0 billion (5.1) at the end of 2015. With profit reserves related to the higher guarantees of 4.5 and 3.5 per cent decreased EUR 188 million to EUR 3.1 billion in 2015.

All in all, Mandatum Life has increased its technical reserves with a total of EUR 244 million (135) due to low level of interest rates. The figure does not take into account the reserves relating to the segregated fund.  The rates used for 2016, 2017 and 2018 are 1.0 per cent, 1.25 per cent, and 2.25 per cent, respectively.

Guaranteed interest rate for the segregated fund has been lowered to 0.75 per cent from the original discount rate of 3.5 per cent by supplementing the technical reserves with EUR 257 million (241).

 At the end of 2015 Mandatum Life Group's investment assets, excluding the assets of EUR 5.9 billion (5.3) covering unit-linked liabilities, amounted to EUR 6.7 billion (6.6) at market values.

The assets covering Mandatum Life's original with profit liabilities on 31 December 2015 amounted to EUR 5.5 billion (5.3) at market values. 47 per cent (32) of the assets are in fixed income instruments, 7 per cent (23) in money market, 29 per cent (30) in equities and 16 per cent (16) in alternative investments. The investment return marked-to-market for 2015 was 6.9 per cent (4.6). The duration of fixed income assets at the end of 2015 was 2.1 years (2.0) and average maturity 2.8 years (2.7). Fixed income (incl. money market) running yield was 3.2 per cent (3.2).

The assets covering the segregated fund amounted to EUR 1.2 billion (1.2), of which 71 per cent (48) was in fixed income, 9 per cent (33) in money market, 12 per cent (8) in equities and 8 per cent (11) in alternative investments. Segregated fund's investment return marked-to-market for January - December 2015 was 3.8 per cent. At the end of December 2015 the duration of fixed income assets was 2.3 years (2.1) and average maturity 3.8 years (3.6). Fixed income (incl. money market) running yield was 1.4 per cent (1.3).

European insurance companies report their solvency position for the last time according to Solvency I for 31 December 2015. Mandatum Life's position remains strong and the Solvency I ratio amounted to 23.6 per cent (22.9). The Solvency II regime entered into force as of 1 January 2016. More about Mandatum Life's Solvency II position in the section Solvency.

Risk and expense results were the highest in Mandatum Life's history. The expense result for life insurance segment increased to EUR 25 million (19). Risk result was exceptionally good and amounted to EUR 33 million (23).

Mandatum Life Group's premium income on own account was record high at EUR 1,144 million (1,105). Premiums from unit-linked policies remained at previous year's level and were EUR 968 million (960). Premium income from the Baltic countries amounted to EUR 34 million (40). Mandatum Life's market share in Finland was stable at 17.7 per cent (17.9). Market share in the Baltic countries was 8 per cent (11).


Holding

Holding segment's profit before taxes amounted to EUR 749 million (669), of which EUR 751 million (680) relates to Sampo's share of Nordea's 2015 profit. Segment's profit excluding Nordea was EUR -1 million (12). The strengthening of Swedish krone had a negative impact of EUR 12 million on the reported finance costs in 2015. The strengthening impacted mainly fourth quarter results.

Sampo plc's debt financing on 31 December 2015 amounted to EUR 2,302 million (2,192) and interest bearing assets to EUR 1,343 million (1,233). Interest bearing assets include bank accounts, EUR 579 million (465) of hybrid capital and subordinated debt instruments issued by the subsidiaries and associates and EUR 25 million of other fixed income instruments. On 31 December 2015 the net debt amounted to EUR 959 million (960). The net debt calculation only takes into account interest bearing assets and liabilities. Gross debt to Sampo plc's equity was 32 per cent (31) and financial leverage 24 per cent (24).

As at 31 December 2015 financial liabilities in Sampo plc's balance sheet consisted of issued senior bonds and notes of EUR 1,997 million (1,888) and EUR 305 million (305) of CPs issued. The average interest, net of interest rate swaps, on Sampo plc's debt as of 31 December 2015 was 1.45 per cent (1.74).

INTERNAL DIVIDENDS

Sampo plc, Sampo Group's parent company, received EUR 1,220 billion in dividends from its subsidiaries and associated company Nordea Bank AB during 2015. The following dividend payments were received:

  • 25 March 2015; Mandatum Life; EUR 100 million,
  • 30 March 2015; Nordea Bank AB; EUR 533 million and
  • 8 December 2015; If P&C; SEK 5.5 billion (EUR 587 million).

On 27 January 2016 Nordea Bank AB's Board of Directors proposed to the Annual General meeting to be held on 17 March 2016, a dividend of EUR 0.64 per share. With its current holding Sampo plc's share amounts to EUR 551 million. The dividend is proposed to be paid on 30 March 2016.

A dividend of EUR 125 million is planned to be paid by Mandatum Life during the first quarter of 2016. If P&C normally pays its dividend towards the end of the calendar year.

SOLVENCY

As of 1 January 2016 insurance subgroups If P&C and Mandatum Life apply Solvency II rules in their regulatory solvency calculations.

On 31 December 2015 If P&C Group's Solvency II capital requirement under standard model amounted to EUR 2,073 million and own funds to EUR 3,202 million. Solvency ratio amounted to 154 per cent. S&P A rating total target capital (TTC) for If P&C Group amounted to EUR 3,058 million at the end of 2015 while the total adjusted capital (TAC) amounted to EUR 3,455.

On 31 December 2015 after transitional measures Mandatum Life's solvency ratio is strong at 158 per cent. Own funds of EUR 1,913 million exceed Solvency Capital Requirement (SCR) of EUR 1,212 million by EUR 701 million. Without transitional measures, own funds would have amounted to EUR 1,347 and the solvency capital requirement EUR 1,307 million leading to a solvency ratio of 103 per cent.

Group's conglomerate solvency ratio (own funds in relation to minimum requirements for own funds) using Solvency I rules for the insurance subsidiaries was 193 per cent (187) as at 31 December 2015. With Solvency II rules applied to the insurance subsidiaries the Group solvency ratio would have been 145 per cent.

OUTLOOK

Outlook for 2016

Sampo Group's business areas are expected to report good operating results for 2016.

However, the mark-to-market results are, particularly in life insurance, highly dependent on capital market developments. The continuing low interest rate level also creates a challenging environment for reinvestment in fixed income instruments.

The P&C insurance operations are expected to reach their long-term combined ratio target of below 95 per cent in 2016 by a margin.

Nordea's contribution to the Group's profit is expected to be significant.

The major risks and uncertainties to the Group in the near-term

In its day-to-day business activities Sampo Group is exposed to various risks and uncertainties mainly through its separately managed major business units. Parent company Sampo plc's contribution to risks is a minor one.

Major risks affecting the Group companies' profitability and its variation are market, credit, insurance and operational risks that are quantified independently by the major business units. At the Group level sources of risks are same, but they are not additive because of diversification effects. 

Uncertainties in the form of major unforeseen events may have an immediate impact on the Group's profitability. Identification of unforeseen events is easier than estimation of their probabilities, timing and potential outcomes. Currently there are a number of widely identified macro-economic, political and other sources of uncertainty which can in various ways affect financial services industry negatively.

Other sources of uncertainty are unforeseen structural changes in the business environment and already identified trends and potential wide-impact events. These external drivers may also have a long-term impact on how the business shall be conducted.

DIVIDEND PROPOSAL

According to Sampo plc's dividend policy, total annual dividends paid shall be at least 50 per cent of the Group's net profit for the year (excluding extraordinary items). In addition, share buy-backs can be used to complement the cash dividend.

The parent company's distributable capital and reserves totaled EUR 7,053,102,301.21 of which profit for the financial year was EUR 1,227,831,784.12.

The Board proposes to the Annual General Meeting a dividend of EUR 2.15 per share to company's 560,000,000 shares. The dividends to be paid are EUR 1,204,000,000.00 in total. Rest of funds are left in the equity capital.

The dividend will be paid to shareholders registered in the Register of Shareholders held by Euroclear Finland Ltd as at the record date of 25 April 2016. The Board proposes that the dividend be paid on 3 May 2016.

No significant changes have taken place in the company's financial position since the end of the financial year. The company's liquidity position is good and in the view of the Board, the proposed distribution does not jeopardize the company's ability to fulfill its obligations.

SAMPO PLC
Board of Directors

For more information, please contact:

Peter Johansson, Group CFO, tel. +358 10 516 0010
Jarmo Salonen, Head of Investor Relations and Group Communications, tel. +358 10 516 0030
Essi Nikitin, IR Manager, tel. +358 10 516 0066
Maria Silander, Communications Manager, tel. +358 10 516 0031

Press Conference and Conference Call

Sampo will today arrange a Finnish-language press conference at Hotel Kämp, Paavo Nurmi meeting room (Pohjoisesplanadi 29, Helsinki) at 12:30 pm Finnish time.

An English-language conference call for investors and analysts will be arranged at 4 pm Finnish time (2 pm UK time). Please call +44 (0)20 3194 0552, +1 855 716 1597, +46 (0)8 566 42 702 or +358 (0)9 8171 0495.

The conference call can also be followed live at www.sampo.com/result.  A recorded version will later be available at the same address.

In addition a Supplementary Financial Information Package is available at www.sampo.com/result.

Sampo will publish the Interim Report for January-March 2016 on 11 May 2016.

Distribution:
Nasdaq Helsinki
The principal media
Financial Supervisory Authority
www.sampo.com

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