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Why invest in Sampo?
IR Blog provides information about Sampo as an investment case and the Group's businesses and markets.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing concern and turbulence around the world affecting the economy, financial markets and everyone’s daily life. Sampo plc and its subsidiaries monitor the situation closely and have taken actions to protect its personnel, customers and other stakeholders while continuing its businesses as normally as possible in these exceptional circumstances.
Our shareholders are naturally concerned about the possible effects of the coronavirus on Sampo Group and we have received lots of questions. In this blog entry we try to clarify the exposures to the coronavirus and the mechanics of the possible effects. However, it is important to note that due to the nature of the Group’s businesses and wide geographical presence in the Nordics, it is not possible to give detailed estimates or a firm view at this stage as the situation changes and evolves very fast.
This blog entry was published on 26 March 2020 and is based on information and views of the possible effects of the corona virus at the time of publishing. All the pictures are from materials published at Sampo.com, except the simplified graph that illustrates Nordea’s effect on Sampo’s solvency.
With its investment portfolio of EUR 21.8 billion at the end of 2019, Sampo Group has a major exposure to the equity and bond markets. Thus, the market turmoil caused by the coronavirus is significantly impacting Sampo through its investments.
Picture from the Q4/2019 Supplementary Financial Information Package.
The effects of market movements on Sampo’s investments are described in the sensitivity analysis below.
Picture from the Q4/2019 Supplementary Financial Information Package.
At the end of 2019, Sampo Group’s investments in the energy sector amounted to EUR 226 million. Of that, the share of oil and gas sector was roughly EUR 150 million, of which largely in bonds. Sampo’s exposure to airlines and other leisure sector is very limited.
Sampo’s exposures by sector, asset class and rating are specified in the table below.
Picture from the Board of Directors’ Report and Financial Statements 2019.
The impacts of different scenarios on the Group’s solvency are described in the sensitivity analysis below. Nordea shares are included in this analysis.
Picture from the Q4/2019 Supplementary Financial Information Package.
In the Group’s solvency calculations, Nordea is treated as a normal equity investment. Thus, the changes in Nordea’s share price affect solvency. Nordea is included in the sensitivity analysis above.
The simplified graph below illustrates the impact of Nordea’s share price movements on Sampo’s solvency from the end of 2019, if all other factors remain unchanged and symmetric adjustments are not taken into account.
As mentioned above, the most significant impact comes from the equity and bond markets. For insurance business, it is not possible to give detailed estimates at this stage because the whole coronavirus situation changes and evolves day by day.
On the private customer side, claims related to travel insurances obviously increase if flights get suddenly cancelled and people need hospitalization abroad. For If, travel insurance is not a very significant business line.
The coronavirus spreading in the Nordics may affect health insurances as well, although the public healthcare system carries the heaviest burden. For If, health insurance is a fairly small business line.
On the corporate side, the coronavirus may cause claims pressure for example through business interruption insurances depending on the cause of the interruption and how comprehensive insurance the customer has bought. Since the terms and conditions vary between countries, sectors and customers, it is not possible to estimate the total impact for If at this stage.
However, for some insurance products, the coronavirus may have a positive short-term effect on results due to lower number of claims. For example, within motor insurance, the claims usually decrease if there is less traffic on the road.
More information about the effects of coronavirus on insurances can be found at If’s website.
The market turmoil naturally affects Mandatum Life’s investments and solvency.
Within personal risk insurance, the impact on the number of claims is not likely to be significant. In the field of wealth management, drastic market movements increase clients’ interest to contact and talk about their investments and possible actions.
On the corporate side, new deals are being made but the risk of delays in payments from some customers has increased as many companies face challenges during in these exceptional circumstances.
Topdanmark published a stock exchange release about the effects of the coronavirus on 23 March 2020.
As recommended by the authorities, the personnel of both Sampo plc and the Group’s subsidiaries work from home as much as possible in order to protect the health of personnel, customers and other stakeholders. Otherwise, all operations continue normally despite these exceptional circumstances.
Sampo Group has a continuity plan to ensure the continuity of operations in the event of exceptional and crisis situations.
On 25 March 2020, Sampo decided to postpone the Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held on 23 April 2020. Sampo now intends to hold the Annual General Meeting on 2 June 2020. Notice to the Annual General Meetings will be published in May.
The Finnish Tax Administration will send pre-completed tax returns for 2019 to its individual clients resident in Finland in March or April 2020. We kindly ask our shareholders to check the information regarding the extra dividend paid in August 2019 in the form of Nordea shares, and correct the information if needed.
Sampo has sent the information regarding the share dividend and the transfer tax paid on behalf of the shareholders to the Finnish Tax Administration. Thus, in principle, the information should be on the pre-completed tax return.
We have today published instructions on payment of the tax for Individuals resident in Finland and nonresident individuals.
For more information, we kindly ask our shareholders to contact directly The Finnish Tax Administration.
In this blog entry we answer investors questions collected from different channels. Thank you for the good questions!
How will Sampo create shareholder value over the next ten years?
Sampo creates shareholder value through its profitable businesses. Particularly, in P&C business, digitalization and economies of scale create favorable opportunities for steady improvement trend. Sampo’s ability to participate in mergers and acquisitions remains good.
What are Sampo’s key growth drivers in the coming years?
Insurance business is rather defensive and steady and one should not expect any rapid growth leaps. In P&C insurance, premiums can be expected to grow roughly at the same pace as GDP. However, If’s growth has been exceptionally strong recently, partly due to the favorable competitive environment in the Nordics. Low interest rates make it difficult to achieve good investment returns, which has forced all insurance companies to focus on technical profitability. This has reduced the aggressive price competition, which has positively reflected in If’s premium and customer volume growth.
In life insurance, the premium growth can be expected to be faster than the GDP growth. For the coming years, one key growth driver is the increasing importance of personal savings and financial safety net as unfavorable demographic trend create pressure on the public social security and pension system.
In the short-term, the biggest single profit potential relates to Nordea’s new business plan and targets.
What is Sampo’s strategy in Nordea? Is the intention to exit the investment at some point?
We welcome Nordea’s business plan and targets announced in October. Nordea, like Sampo’s all holdings, is for sale if the price is right.
Could Sampo exit Nordea by distributing the whole ownership in dividends to its shareholders?
In theory, yes, but it would have a significant negative impact on the Group’s solvency. In addition, it would cause noteworthy one-off tax consequences for the shareholders.
What kind of M&A opportunities does Sampo see in its core markets?
We are constantly looking at potential M&A projects that could create shareholder value. Because Sampo is a big investor, various opportunities are presented to us regularly. However, it is hard to say anything concrete about this subject because opportunities can come quickly and unexpectedly and must always be considered case-by-case.
On a general level, it is clear that large-scale M&As are unlikely in the Nordics in both insurance and banking sector. In insurance sector, all the big players are currently in quite good shape and company valuations are high, and this reduces the likelihood of M&As. In both the insurance and banking sectors, competition regulations can come into play for larger deals. On the other hand, smaller deals, where a small player merges with another or a larger player takes over smaller players, may well continue to occur in both sectors.
What kind of value creation potential does Sampo plc’s direct financial investments have?
The direct financial investments made by the parent company Sampo plc (Saxo Bank, Nets, Nordax, Asiakastieto, Intrum and Bank Norwegian) are normal investments from which Sampo will exit at some point. What unites all the companies is that they operate in the financial sector and fintech sector, which Sampo knows well. There are also a lot of consolidation taking place within the sector and Sampo can give its own contribution and create shareholder value. For example, Sampo participated Saxo Bank’s takeover bid for BinckBank corresponding to its ownership.
The value creation potential and exit points vary case by case. Of these investments, Saxo Bank, Nets and Nordax are private equity investments, where the investment horizon is usually longer than in publicly traded investments.
Why has Sampo invested in Nordax and Bank Norwegian, which are specialized in consumer credit? Are these investments in conflict with Sampo’s responsibility considerations?
We have invested in Nordax and Bank Norwegian because we see them as interesting players in the changing financial sector and see potential for value creation.
The investments are not in conflict with our responsibility considerations. We are aware that the companies operate in a sector, where is a lot of problems and negative attitude. However, both Nordax and Bank Norwegian operate by all the laws and regulations. The companies have clear requirements and conditions under which loans can be granted to clients.
To which companies does Sampo compare itself and its businesses?
Sampo’s primary benchmark companies are other major P&C insurers in the Nordics. These include, for example, Tryg, Gjensidige, LF, OP and LähiTapiola. Due to the large ownership in Nordea, we usually use benchmark indices that include both insurance and banking companies when comparing stock price development.
Why was Sampo so strongly speaking for increasing the dividend instead of taking more cautious approach in August?
Two key events occurred after the Q2 results in August. Nordea announced its new dividend policy, which will have a significant impact on Sampo’s internal dividends in the coming years. In addition, interest rates fell sharply after the ECB meeting in September and markets expect them to remain low for even longer period of time than previously expected, which affects Sampo’s investment activities. If these things had been known in August, the communication would certainly have been different. Thanks to our strong balance sheet, it would be possible to increase the dividend in spring 2020, but would not serve our shareholders nor the company’s interest because the matters will have a longer-term effect on ability to pay dividend.
Is Sampo going to renew its dividend possibility and if so, how?
Sampo’s Board will review the company’s dividend policy in February 2020. No comments can be given before that.
Can If still be more efficient or is the profit growth only dependent on premiums growth?
If has successfully reduced its cost ratio (operating expenses and claims adjustment expenses divided by premiums earned) by at least 0.1 percentage points for several consecutive years. In 2018, the cost ratio was 21.9 per cent compared to, for example, 23.5 per cent in 2011. Such steady improvements can be expected in the future as well. The trend is supported by digitalization and economies of scale.
If focuses on profitability and does not seek growth at the expense of profitability. Growth must always be profitable, and If’s premium growth has been very strong recently. In January-September 2019, If’s premium growth was 5.0 per cent in local currency.
At what point will Sampo reach the limits of growth in its current markets?
As mentioned above, Sampo will focus on profitability rather than in growth in its businesses and growth must be profitable. In terms of market shares, there are no limits in sight for organic growth. On the other hand, bigger single growth leaps through M&As are less likely due to competition regulations.
Why wouldn’t If expand its operations, for example, to Central Europe?
We constantly monitor developments in other markets and in the insurance industry if there are opportunities to enter new markets. However, expanding into a new market always involves a lot of risks and we only take risks that are manageable and justified from the point of view of shareholder value. There is no reason to expand just for the joy of expansion. In addition, we want to be a major player in every market in order to be able to benefit from economies of scale. Thus, any expansion into new markets would more likely to take place through an acquisition, which involve its own risks.
What kind of added value the Viking acquisition announced on November brings to If?
The Viking acquisition is relatively small for If (the enterprise value is EUR 114 million), but it adds value in many ways. Through the acquisition, If can offer more comprehensive service to its customers and partners such as car manufacturers that includes both insurance and roadside assistance. A more comprehensive service enables better customer contact in the events of accident, which makes processes more efficient and faster for both If and the customer. In the event of accident, the information reaches both the roadside assistance company and If at the same time, which makes it easier, for example, to arrange a rental car, recommend a suitable repair shop and start the claim procedure.
What is Sampo’s view of the consolidation development in the Nordic financial sector?
At a general level, it is likely that there will be consolidation, particularly amongst small and medium-sized players, which are subject to regulatory pressure. However, consolidation between the big players is less likely due to competition regulations.
What is Sampo’s view of the future interest rate development? How has Sampo positioned itself against the changes?
We do not know in which direction interest rates will go, nor can we forecast the weather for the next Summer. The duration of our fixed income investments is still short. Thus, rising interest rates would have only a small momentary negative impact on our portfolio and we would benefit from higher interest rates faster. Higher interest rates would therefore be very positive for Sampo.
Sampo’s subsidiaries If and Topdanmark compete with each other in Denmark. Is there a contradiction?
If and Topdanmark are both independent companies and compete with each other as they as they should do. However, their target customers are somewhat different, which reduces the overlapping. Topdanmark is strong on the household and agricultural side, whereas If focuses more on the corporate side in Denmark.
How often does Sampo attend IR events and meet foreign investors?
About 65 per cent of Sampo’s shares are foreign-owned, which means a lot of meetings abroad. Sampo’s management and IR have approximately 250-300 meetings with foreign investors and analysts each year. This will be followed by numerous meetings with domestic institutional investors. In addition, we do our best to serve our domestic private shareholders through investor events and increasingly through social media.
How does Sampo use its owner’s control in companies, in which it’s a minority shareholder?
Sampo is an active owner and exercises its voting rights trough Board work. For example, three of the six members elected by the AGM of Topdanmark are representative of Sampo, including the Chairman. In Nordea, Torbjörn Magnusson, the Group CEO and President of Sampo as of 1 January 2020, is the Chairman of the Board. In addition, Sampo has a representative in several companies in which we have invested by the parent company Sampo plc.
Does Sampo any short-term trades or short sell assets?
Sampo’s subsidiary If has agreed to acquire the Nordic roadside assistance company Viking Redningstjeneste TOPCO A/S. The acquisition price for 100 per cent ownership of the company is EUR 32 million, which will be paid in cash. The enterprise value of the transaction is EUR 114 million.
The transaction is subject to approval by competition authorities in Norway and Sweden. The transaction is expected to be finalized in early 2020.
Viking was founded in 1956 in Norway and it is today one of the leading roadside assistance companies in the Nordics with operations in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Viking offers assistance services to all types of vehicles and is the preferred partner of most car manufacturers, several insurance companies and a number of foreign partners.
The company has over 3,000 employees in its franchise network with 320 stations all over the Nordics. In 2018, Viking covered 4 million vehicles, answered 1,4 million calls and made 460 000 assistances and transports.
In 2018, Viking’s revenue was NOK 774 million (approximately EUR 77 million) and adjusted ebitda was NOK 70 million (EUR 7 million). In the first half of 2019, revenue was NOK 422 million (EUR 42 million) and adjusted ebitda NOK 59 million (EUR 6 million).
After the transaction is finalized, Viking will continue its operations and serve its customers normally as an independent company with its current organization.
If and Viking have a long history of co-operation and a favorable geographical fit. In addition, both companies have determinedly invested in digitalization to make services simple to use and to create customer value. The acquisition will further improve If’s position as the leading Nordic insurance and service provider within the mobility area.
For more information about Viking, visit www.vikingassistance.com.
Sampo Groups profit before taxes for January-September 2019 was EUR 1,073 million compared to EUR 1,643 million a year ago. In the third quarter, profit before taxes decreased to EUR 92 million from 490 million a year ago and earnings per share was only EUR 0.01 (0.70)
The result was burdened by large non-recurring items. The distribution of an extra dividend in the form of Nordea shares in August caused a negative impact of EUR 155 million. In addition, Nordea booked in total of EUR 1.3 billion one-offs for the third quarter pushing the result to a negative territory. Sampo’s share of Nordea’s net result was EUR -75 million.
|Key figures, EURm||1-9/
|Profit before taxes||1,073||1,643||-35||92||490||-81|
|Valuation loss on distribution of Nordea shares||-155||-||-||-155||-||-|
|Holding (excl. associates)||26||-42||-||-6||4||-|
|Profit for the period||848||1,397||-39||22||414||-95|
|Earnings per share, EUR||1.38||2.38||-1.00||0.01||0.70||-0.69|
|EPS (based on OCI), EUR||1.44||1.92||-0.48||-0.24||0.78||-1.02|
|NAV per share, EUR*||18.90||20.60||-1.70||-||-||-|
|Average number of staff, FTE||9,769||9,504||265||-||-||-|
|Group solvency ratio, %*||178||140||38||-||-||-|
* Comparison figure from 31 December 2018
The figures are not audited. Income statement items are compared on a year-on-year basis and comparison figures for balance sheet items are from 31 December 2018 unless otherwise stated.
The good momentum for Sampo’s insurance businesses continued in the third quarter. If’s profit before taxes for January-September increased to EUR 655 million (626) and combined ratio improved to 84.3 per cent (85.8).
In addition, If’s premium growth remained at very strong level. In local currency, If’s premiums grew 5.0 per cent in January-September, accelerating the growth pace from 4.3 per cent in the first half of the year. Premiums increased in all markets and business areas. Growth was particularly strong in Norway, 9.1 per cent, and in business area Industrial, 13.9 per cent.
However, If’s net investment income decreased by 13 per cent in January-September and 39 per cent in the third quarter, reflecting the challenging investment environment, especially in the fixed income markets.
The guidance for If’s combined ratio for 2019 remained unchanged at 84-86 per cent.
Topdanmark and Mandatum Life keep up the good work
Topdanmark’s profit before taxes for January-September was EUR 180 million compared to EUR 170 million a year ago. However, in the third quarter, the profit decreased clearly compared to the very strong period last year, partly due to lower discount rates and weaker investment income. Combined ratio for January-September was 80.5 per cent (82.7).
In January-September, Topdanmark’s premiums grew 2.4 per cent in non-life business and 13.5 per cent in life business.
Topdanmark updated its profit forecast model for 2019. The model forecasts combined ratio excluding run-offs to be 84-85 per cent (previously 85-86) and net profit to be DKK 1.30-1.40 billion (previously 1.25-1.35).
In the third quarter, Topdanmark and Nordea entered into a new non-life agreement for distribution on the Danish market. The agreement comes into force on 1 January 2020. From 2021, it is expected that the Nordea agreement in terms of premiums will compensate fully for the terminated distribution agreement with Danske Bank, which was terminated at the end of June 2019.
Topdanmark also introduced a new crop insurance, which covers up to 80 per cent of farmer’s normal crop yield if the crop yield is below average. Topdanmark is the market leader on the agricultural insurance market with approximately 50 per cent market share measured by the number of farms.
Mandatum Life’s profit before taxes for January-September amounted to EUR 212 million compared to EUR 385 million a year ago. The comparison figure contains a non-recurring profit item of EUR 197 million related to Mandatum Life’s co-operation agreement with Danske Bank.
Mandatum Life’s premium income increased to EUR 824 million (681), of which unit-linked premiums were 87 per cent. Net investment income, excluding unit-linked contracts, increased to EUR 280 million (196).
Technical reserves increased increased to EUR 11.7 billion (11.2), of which unit-linked reserves were at a record-high level of EUR 7.8 billion. With-profit reserves with higher guarantees (4.5% and 3.5%) continued to decrease as planned to EUR 2.2 billion, which is EUR 198 million less than at the end of 2018.
In September, Mandatum Life issued a Tier 2 bond of EUR 250 million due 2049 and received a long-term issuer credit rating of A+ from Standard & Poor’s.
In the field of wealth management, Mandatum Life’s determined work on socially responsible investing has received international recognition. In August, Mandatum Life Wealth Management received an excellent overall score of A+ (Strategy & Governance) in the 2019 UNPRI assessment. One fourth of all members of the UN’s Responsible Investment (PRI) organization worldwide achieve this score.
Change in Sampo’s view on expected dividends
Sampo’s management announced on 24 October 2019 that it has changed its view on expected dividends. This is due to Nordea’s new dividend policy and dividend guidance for 2019 and increasingly difficult operating environment, with government bond yields expected to remain negative for some time.
Sampo’s management expects to propose to the Board a dividend of EUR 2.10 – 2.30 a share for 2019. The Board will review the dividend policy in early February 2020.