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IR Blog

Why invest in Sampo?
IR Blog provides information about Sampo as an investment case and the Group's businesses and markets.

1 October 2021

Sampo share buybacks – Q&A

Sampo announced today that it will return excess capital to its shareholders by launching a share buyback programme. 

Release

The aggregate purchase price of all Sampo A shares to be acquired under the buyback programme shall not exceed EUR 750 million. The maximum amount of Sampo A shares that can be repurchased is 20,000,000 shares corresponding to approximately 3.6 per cent of the total number of shares in Sampo.

The share repurchases will start on 4 October 2021 at the earliest and end by 18 May 2022.

The purpose of the buyback programme is to return excess capital to shareholders by reducing Sampo plc’s capital, as the repurchased shares will be cancelled. The repurchases will reduce funds available for distribution of profit.

Why did Sampo choose buybacks instead of dividends?

As always, we listen to our shareholders carefully and base our actions on their feedback. Naturally, some shareholders prefer dividends whereas others prefer buybacks. This time we decided to use the proceeds from the latest Nordea sale for buybacks, which is a tax-friendly way of returning excess capital for many institutional and private investors.

Will Sampo later distribute excess capital also in dividends?

The decisions on the distribution method of any potential excess capital will be made over time as we continue to reduce our ownership in Nordea and other financial investments. However, it is likely that both dividends and buybacks would be used if Sampo decided to further return excess capital to shareholders.

How will Sampo’s shareholders benefit from buybacks?

By returning excess capital via buybacks, Sampo delivers on its commitment to disciplined capital management while at the same time reducing its total share count, which enhances earnings per share and dividends per share growth. The buybacks allow shareholders to choose between receiving cash returns by selling shares or increasing their stake in the company.

Instead of cancelling the repurchased shares, can Sampo use them for other purposes, for example management’s compensation?

No. According to the authorization by the AGM, all repurchased shares must be cancelled.

From which market will the shares be acquired?

Shares will be acquired through public trading on Nasdaq Helsinki, CBOE, Turquoise and Aquis.

Which bank will acquire the shares?

The shares will be acquired by Exane BNP Paribas. The repurchases will be made in accordance with the safe harbour arrangement of Article 5 of the EU Market Abuse Regulation. This means that Exane BNP Paribas will act independently in accordance with its mandate without Sampo’s influence. Thus, the programme can also be run during Sampo’s silent period.

How many shares can be repurchased per day?

Based on regulation (MAR), the maximum number of shares that can be repurchased is 25 per cent of the average daily volume per each market.

Is it possible to acquire a larger block of shares from a single shareholder?

Block trades are not allowed in this programme.

How will the buybacks affect Sampo’s solvency and leverage?

Buybacks will affect the same way as dividends, i.e. decrease Solvency II ratio and increase financial leverage ratio.

At the end of June 2021, Sampo’s Solvency II ratio was 209 per cent and financial leverage 28.4 per cent. If both the latest Nordea share sale and the whole EUR 750 share buyback had taken place at the end of June, Sampo’s Solvency II ratio would have been 207 per cent and financial leverage 29.4 per cent.

Will the buybacks affect Sampo’s dividend policy?

Buybacks will not affect Sampo’s dividend policy, according to which the total annual dividends paid will be at least 70 per cent of Group's net profit for the year (excluding extraordinary items).

Mirko Hurmerinta

IR and Communications Specialist, Sampo plc

4 August 2021

January-June 2021 results – Q&A

Sampo continued its strong performance in the second quarter of 2021, resulting the best-ever operational first half results.

Sampo Group’s profit before taxes for January-June 2021 increased to EUR 1,343 million (569), including the gain of EUR 93 million from the Nordea share sale, which will be treated as an extraordinary item. Earnings per share for the first half was EUR 1.80 (0.81).

The Group’s core business, P&C insurance achieved an underwriting profit of EUR 658 million (489), representing year-on-year growth 34 per cent. Adjusting for the Hastings acquisition and COVID-19 effects in If and Topdanmark, the growth was 12 per cent. The Group’s combined ratio improved to 80.7 per cent (82.6).

With the strong results achieved in the first half of 2021, Sampo Group is well ahead of its financial targets for 2021-2023.

Key figures, EURm 1-6/
2021
1-6/
2020
Change,
%
4-6/
2021
4-6/
2020
Change,
%
Profit before taxes 1,343 569 136 710 407 74
If 566 383 48 309 254 22
Topdanmark 208 38 442 71 52 37
Hastings 85 - - 38 - -
Associates 369 137 169 243 51 376
Mandatum 141 39 260 65 55 18
Holding (excl. Associates) -26 -29 -8 -15 -5 -204
Profit for the period 1,112 469 137 586 330 78
Underwriting profit 658 489 34 341 275 24
      Change     Change
Earnings per share, EUR 1.80 0.81 0.99 0.99 0.55 0.43
EPS (based on OCI) EUR 2.66 0.02 2.64 1.27 1.73 -0.46
RoE, % 25.2 0.2 25.0 - - -

The figures in this report have not been audited.


Sampo Group financial targets for 2021-2023

  Target 1-6/2021
Group





Mid-single digit UW profit growth   annually on average (excluding   COVID-19 effects)

34% (12% adjusting for the Hastings acquisition and COVID-19 effects in If P&C and Topdanmark)
 Group combined ratio: below 86% 80.7%
 Solvency ratio: 170-190% 209%
 Financial leverage: below 30% 28.4%
If Combined ratio: below 85% 81.1% (84% excluding COVID-19 effects)
Hastings

Operating ratio: below 88% 76.5%
 Loss ratio: below 76% 63.4%

Financial targets for 2021-2023 announced at the Capital Markets Day on 24 February 2021.

 

What were the drivers behind the strong results?

The development in the first half and in the second quarter was strong across all areas. Our P&C units; If, Topdanmark and Hastings reported strong results. If reported an underwriting profit of EUR 443 million (393), Topdanmark EUR 114 million (96) and Hastings EUR 101 million for the first half.

In addition to the great underwriting results, the favorable development in the investing markets supported the Group’s investment results.

Mandatum benefitted from the good market momentum and saw very strong net flow to assets. It’s unit-linked and other client assets exceeded EUR 10 billion for the first time.

Sampo’s largest investment, Nordea, continued its strong performance, increasing our share of the bank’s net profit despite the decreased ownership.

 

Kuva1.jpg

Picture from Investor presentation

 

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect Sampo’s businesses in the second quarter?

The effect of COVID-19 on If’s combined ratio was approximately 3 percentage points positive in the second quarter. During the second quarter, motor claims were above last year’s level, but still below pre-pandemic levels. A gradual normalization of claims frequency is expected as vaccinations progress and restrictions are lifted. The topline effect of COVID-19 was minor.

In the UK, motor claims frequencies have remained low throughout the pandemic due to lower usage of motor vehicles. This has supported Hastings loss ratio, but also made the market environment more challenging due decreased prices. In the second quarter, motor claims frequencies started to increase as restrictions were lifted.

Mandatum did not experience significant COVID-19-related impacts during the second quarter.

 

If’s premium growth increased to 7.2 per cent in the second quarter from 2.6 per cent in the first quarter. What were the drivers behind the strong growth?

In the second quarter, all Business Areas had strong growth, with Commercial (10.2%) and Baltic (11.3%) being the brightest stars during the quarter.

In If’s largest Business Area, Private, the growth increased to 5.8 per cent from 3.9 per cent in the first quarter with strong development especially in Sweden and Norway. BA Private benefitted from a strong new car sales development in the Nordics, in which If had a 26 per cent market share in the first half. This means that every fourth new car sold is insured by If. In addition, the private customer retention remained strong at approximately 90 per cent and NPS increased to 61 from 60 at year-end.

 

Kuva2.jpg

Picture from Investor presentation

 

If’s combined ratio (80.7%) was a bit higher in the second quarter of 2021 compared to a year ago (80.5). Why?

In the second quarter of 2021, COVID-19 had a positive effect of 3 percentage points to the combined ratio, whereas last year the effect was 4 percentage points. Thus, excluding COVID-19 effects, the combined ratio improved by 0.8 percentage points.

Besides the lower COVID-19 effect, If’s combined ratio was affected by the increase in cost ratio due to some IT expenses and an increase in activity.

 

Kuva3.jpg

Picture from Investor presentation

 

How is the knowledge and skills share program with Hastings developing?

The program is progressing well. During the first half, we have identified annual pre-tax earnings benefits of EUR 30 million from knowledge sharing with If. These include, for example, new and electric vehicles tariff and pricing automation, telematics, fraud analytics and IT procurement and services. We expect these benefits to fully show in the profit by first half of 2023.

In addition, there is a further EUR 15 million benefit from capital optimization actions related to, for example, reinsurance optimization and potential internal financing.

In total, these benefits represent over 30 per cent of Hastings average profit before taxes in 2018-2020.

 

Sampo Group’s Solvency II -ratio increased to 209 per cent from 189 per cent at the end of the first quarter. What was behind of this increase?

The biggest driver was the Nordea share sale in May, which had a 17 percentage points positive effect. Operating items increased the ratio by 4 percentage points. Market movements had also a positive effect, but that was subdued by the change in the symmetric adjustment.

 

Kuva4.jpg

Picture from Investor presentation

 

On 25 July 2021 Sampo announced that in total of EUR 182.5 million of bonds due 2023 and 2025 will be bought back. The total outstanding amount of these bonds was EUR 894 million. Was the result a disappointment?

It was expected that it would be quite challenging to get fixed income investors to sell their investments in these times of very low interest rates. Nonetheless, we are happy that we managed to bring down the debt a bit.

 

What will be Sampo’s next steps for the financial leverage?

There are options to bring down the financial leverage. Sampo plc has one senior bond of EUR 360 million maturing in September 2021 and If has some hybrid debt with a first call date in December 2021. There are also some other options that can be considered.

 

The ECB announced on 23 July 2021, that it will not extend its dividend restrictions for banks. Will Sampo distribute the potential dividends from Nordea to its own shareholders?

Sampo’s dividend policy is linked to net profit, not internal dividends. However, the guidelines for usage of potential excess capital, communicated at the CMD on February, apply to all capital regardless of origin of it. The potential excess capital can be used for bolt-on acquisitions or returned to the shareholders.

Mirko Hurmerinta

IR and Communications Specialist, Sampo plc

2 July 2021

Pre-Q2 Q&A

In this blog entry, we have compiled questions we have received from investors and analysts during the second quarter.

 

How has the claims environment been in Q2?

During the second quarter, there were no major weather events, although there has been some localised unsteady weather, such as a period of heavy rain in Sweden and a couple of small storms in Finland.

Regarding to COVID-19 situation, the general activity has started to improve towards the end of the first half of 2021 after the spring lock-up periods.

How will the sale of Nordea shares in late May affect Sampo?

The gross proceeds of the transaction were EUR 1,377 million. Since the sale price of EUR 8.50 per share exceeds the book value of Nordea in Sampo’s balance sheet, Sampo will make a sales gain of approximately EUR 93 million, including recycling of previously recognized other comprehensive items of approximately EUR -30 million, from the transaction. The sales gain will be treated as an extraordinary item. Thus, it will not affect Sampo’s dividend.

In addition, the transaction will improve Sampo’s Solvency II ratio as the market risk decreases.

How will Sampo use the proceeds from the Nordea share sale?

As we communicated in the Capital Markets Day in February, Sampo is committed to return possible excess capital to its shareholders while maintaining a strong but efficient balance sheet.

Most of the proceeds from the latest sale will be consumed to further bring down the Group leverage ratio. In June, Sampo launched a debt buy-back, which is expected to be completed in Q3. In addition, there’s also one bond maturing in September.

Options for the rest are to re-deploy it in the business or return to shareholders, depending on where the returns are the highest.

Would the potential excess capital be returned to shareholders in dividends or through buybacks?

Both options are on the table and to be considered when the time is right. Some of our shareholders prefer dividends, others see buybacks as a better option.

Will Sampo sell more Nordea shares soon?

In connection with the latest transaction, Sampo entered into a lock-up undertaking, under which it has, subject to certain exceptions, agreed not to sell any Nordea shares for a period ending at 23 August 2021.

After that, the options naturally depend on Nordea’s performance and the share price, but also on ECB’s announcements on the dividend and buyback restrictions for banks.

Sampo has owned Hastings for over six months now. How do you feel about the acquisition?

Hastings has had a good start and the skills and knowledge transfer program between Hastings and If is progressing well. Due to the pandemic and heavy lockdowns, the UK motor market has been challenging, but Hastings has achieved a good profit growth through disciplined approach and strong margin development in Q1. We expect Hastings to get more opportunities for top line growth as the pandemic lifts.

What levers does Sampo have to grow its P&C insurance profits?

Sampo’s largest business, If, will continue to benefit from its pan-Nordic presence and being the leader in digitalization while pricing at least claims inflation and continuous cost focus and other initiatives will support margins.

Topdanmark has launched a bunch of digitalization initiatives that will further improve its efficiency. With regard to Hastings, we are confident that the company can take more market share in the medium term.

Mandatum has made a lot of changes recently. What are these about?

Mandatum is broadening its new business proposition to include a wider range of asset management products. This should help to support earnings development on top of the capital generated from the run-off of the old with-profit book.

How have the capital markets developed from Sampo’s perspective?

In the equity markets, the good momentum has continued, supporting especially Mandatum, which has the highest exposure in equities within the Group. In the fixed income market, there have been no major movements during Q2.

How have the key currency rates developed during Q2?

Both the Swedish Krona and the Norwegian Krone have strengthened against the Euro compared to Q2/2020. This will have a small positive effect as If’s figures are converted to euros.

If’s competitor Tryg sells Codan Denmark to Alm. Brand. Any thoughts about the transaction?

We don’t expect the transaction to cause any major changes in the Nordic P&C markets, which are expected to remain favorable.

Was Sampo interested in buying Codan?

We already have a strong presence in Denmark through Topdanmark and If. Thus, Sampo was not interested in buying Codan and did not participate the bidding process.

Mirko Hurmerinta

IR and Communications Specialist, Sampo plc

1 June 2021

Introducing Sami Taipalus, the new Head of Investor Relations at Sampo

Sami_Taipalus_blogi.jpg

Sampo announced on 27 May 2021 that Jarmo Salonen, 62, the Head of Investor Relations, has decided to step down after serving our shareholders for 20 years in his position. Jarmo will continue as senior adviser in the Group until his retirement.

Sami Taipalus, 37, who joined Sampo in August 2020 to work on strategic projects within the Group Finance unit, starts as the new Head of Investor Relations today.

Sami, where do you live and how do you spend your free time?

“I live in Täby, just outside of Stockholm. I have two young children so much of my spare time is taken up with their activities, which include various sports and trips to the park, beach and countryside. I love football and although I no longer play myself, I coach my older son’s team. I am also a foodie, so I like to go out to eat something nice or cook at home when I get a chance.”

Tell us a bit about your work background

“I have spent my whole career working with P&C insurers. I started as an actuarial analyst at Tillinghast, which was then part of Towers Perrin, after which I worked briefly in a similar role in the London Market. In 2010, I moved to Berenberg to work as an equity analyst specializing in insurance companies and then I moved again to Goldman Sachs in 2017 to do the same job. As an analyst, I worked mainly on European P&C companies, including those in the Nordics and UK. In 2020, I joined Sampo to work on certain projects within the finance function.”

You used to work as an equity analyst. What skills or qualities can you bring to this side of the table from your previous career?

“As an analyst, I have discussed the strengths and weaknesses of many insurance companies countless times with investors over the last decade. This has helped me build a good understanding of what investors value in insurers and how to communicate this.”

How would you describe good IR communication?

“In my view, the key objective for an IR team is to communicate the purpose, competitive strengths and financial plan of a business, since these are what make it success in the long term. I believe that transparency and regular communications with investors and analysts are essential to build confidence in the business and its trajectory. I also think it is important to recognize that all investors are different and therefore require different types of contact and information. For example, in Sampo we have a strong contingent of retail investors, so we will make sure that these also get top quality access to the company.”

You have been working at Sampo for almost a year. What has been the best and what are you looking forward to the most?

“Due to COVID-19 it has been a strange time to join a new company – I have had lot of Teams meetings but met few people face to face. Nonetheless, I have very much enjoyed my time at Sampo thus far, as I have worked on interesting projects with excellent people. I have learnt a lot since joining the group.

Now I am looking forward to meeting our shareholders and analysts to discuss Sampo and the markets we operate in, not least since the insurance industry is going through significant changes that I think our business is very well positioned to navigate. As someone that considers himself Finnish, Swedish and British in roughly equal measures, I am naturally also very much looking forward to working in a group with our operational footprint.”

Mirko Hurmerinta

IR and Communications Specialist, Sampo plc

5 May 2021

January-March 2021 results – Q&A

Sampo’s first quarter of 2021 was very strong across the Group. Profit before taxes amounted to EUR 632 million (162) and earnings per share was EUR 0.82 (0.26). It was the best-ever Q1 in the Group’s history, if the sale of Sampo Bank in 2007 is not taken into account.

Sampo’s core business, P&C insurance, reported its best-ever operational results. The Group’s underwriting profit was EUR 317 million and combined ratio 81.2 per cent.

Sampo’s largest subsidiary, If reported a profit before taxes of EUR 257 million (129) and an underwriting profit of EUR 213 million (180). If’s combined ratio improved to 81.5 per cent (83.7). Following the strong performance in the first quarter, If’s combined ratio outlook for 2021 improved to 82 – 84 per cent from below 85 per cent.

  1-3/2021 1-3/2020 Change, %
Profit before taxes 632 162 290
If 257 129 99
Topdanmark 137 -13 -
Hastings 46 - -
Associates 126 86 47
Mandatum 76 -16 -
Holding (excl. associates) -11 -24 -54
Profit for the period 526 139 278
      Change
Earnings per share, EUR 0.82 0.26 0.56
EPS (incl. change in FVR), EUR 1.39 -1.71 3.10
NAV per share, EUR* 23.28 19.82 3.46
Average number of staff, FTE 13,204 10,303 2,901
Group solvency ratio, %* 189 179 13
RoE, % 26.0 -33.2 59.2

*) Comparison figures of 31 December 2020.
The figures have not been audited.

 

How did the coronavirus pandemic affect If’s business in the first quarter?

The pandemic continued to lower the claims frequency, which decreased claims costs especially in motor and travel insurance. The effect of the pandemic on If’s risk ratio was approximately 3 percentage points positive in the first quarter.

In terms of premium income, the sale of travel insurances decreased significantly due to the pandemic. In addition, the premium effect in the corporate segments was noticeable and mainly related to workers’ compensation insurance in Finland. For If as a whole, the pandemic had not a significant effect on premium volume.

What were the drivers behind If’s strong results in the first quarter?

The result was partly supported by lower claims costs due to the pandemic and partly by investment income boosted by a good momentum in the markets, but even without these factors, If’s performance was strong. This is the result of If’s continuous and determined improvements of operational efficiency and investments in digitalization.

Combined ratio was 81.5 per cent. Without the approximately 3 per cent positive COVID-19 effect, it would have been 84.5 per cent, which is an excellent performance in the quite wintry first quarter.

If’s premiums grew 2.6 per cent in local currency in the first quarter. What were the drivers behind that?

The main driver was the strong 3.9 per cent growth in BA Private, If’s largest business area. One of the factors supporting the growth in BA Private was the increased new cars sales, in which If is the leading insurer supported by its strong partnership network.

In addition, the first quarter is important for corporate segments since large part of insurance contracts are renewed on the first day of the year. The premium growth within corporate segments was characterized by stable retention and selective rate actions.

If_GWP.jpg

Picture from Supplementary Financial Information presentation

Why did the premium decrease by 3.0 per cent in Finland?

In Finland, the coronavirus pandemic had a negative effect on volume of workers’ compensation insurances as wages decreased due to lower economic activity.

What were the drivers behind Mandatum’s strong results?

Of Sampo’s businesses, the development in the equity and fixed income markets affect Mandatum the most, since vast majority of its results comes from investment income. In addition to the general market development, Mandatum’s results were supported by a quite large capital gain related to the takeover bid for Tikkurila.

Mandatum’s profit before taxes was very strong, EUR 76 million, despite the fact that the profit included a negative impact of EUR 31 million from lowering the discount rate for 2024 to 1.5 per cent.

Mandatum Life’s unit-linked technical reserves were supported by the good momentum in the markets and increased to a new record of EUR 9.24 billion.

Mandatum_technical_reserves.jpg

Picture from Supplementary Financial Information presentation

How did Hastings first full quarter as a part of Sampo Group go?

Hastings reported strong results in a somewhat challenging market environment. In the UK, the coronavirus pandemic pushed the claims frequency down, but at the same time, average premiums decreased, and price competition increased.

Hastings has taken a disciplined approach and did not participate the aggressive price competition, keeping its number of live customer policies and market share stable at year-end 2020 level. Hastings’ profit before taxes amounted to EUR 46 million, including EUR 10 million charge for amortization of non-operational intangibles, which will continue for the next seven years.

Hastings operating ratio was very strong, 75.1 per cent. The ratio includes a 3.4 percentage points benefit from acquisition accounting across revenue and operating expenses for deferred acquisition costs and other fair value adjustments that will continue until the end of 2021.

Hastings_operating_ratio.jpg

Picture from Supplementary Financial Information presentation

How did Sampo’s solvency and financial leverage develop in the first quarter?

Sampo Group’s Solvency II ratio was strong, 189 per cent at the end of March, well in line with the target range of 170 – 190 per cent for 2021 – 2023. Financial leverage was 28.0 per cent, in line with the target level of below 30 per cent for 2021 – 2023. 

Sampo’s lock-up period for Nordea shares ends on 9 May 2021. When will Sampo continue to reduce its ownership in Nordea?

As we communicated at the Capital Markets Day in February, Sampo will materially reduce its ownership in Nordea over the next 18 months (approximately over 15 months at the time of writing this). The schedule of next actions depends on many things, of which the share price of Nordea is naturally the most important one.

At the Capital Markets Day, Sampo estimated that after exiting Nordea and other financial investments it would have approximately EUR 5-6 per share excess capital. Is this estimate still valid?

That estimate presented at the Capital Markets Day was round and based on figures at the end of 2020. The biggest factor is the share price of Nordea, which was EUR 6.67 per share at the end of 2020. Favorable market development will naturally increase the amount of potential excess capital.

Capital_allocation.jpg

Picture from Capital Markets Day presentation (24 February 2021)

Sustainalytics, an ESG-focused research company, upgraded Sampo to Low Risk. What does this mean?

The rating change made by Sustainalytics proves that our continuous and determined work on corporate responsibility bears fruit. Sampo is now in the top five of the 71 insurers rated by Sustainalytics and the number one with a market cap of EUR 20 – 40 billion. We are pleased with this achievement but there is still room to further improve and the work on that field continues.

ESG.jpg

Picture from Supplementary Financial Information presentation

 

What would you like to ask Sampo’s managers?

Sampo will hold a Q&A session in connection with its Annual General Meeting on 19.5. In the Q&A session, the Group CEO Torbjörn Magnusson and Group CFO Knut Arne Alsaker will answer shareholders questions. Questions can be presented during the live event, but we would like to receive those in advance as well.

Questions can be sent by email to ir@sampo.fi.

 

Mirko Hurmerinta

IR and Communications Specialist, Sampo plc