Operating result significantly higher
- 2Q15 operating result ongoing business of EUR 488 million, up 90% from 2Q14, driven by improved results in all segments and supported by a private equity dividend and technical provision releases in the Netherlands
- Net result up 56% to EUR 392 million, reflecting the higher operating result
- Expense reduction target in the Netherlands essentially achieved, with EUR 198 million cumulative costs savings compared with 2013
- Capital position remained strong despite unfavourable market movements: IGD ratio at 306%; holding company cash capital increased to EUR 1.6 billion
- Interim dividend over the first half of 2015 of EUR 0.46 per ordinary share, or EUR 156 million in total
- New sales (APE) EUR 278 million, down 10% from 2Q14 at constant currencies, mainly in Netherlands Life
- AuM at Investment Management decreased from 1Q15 to EUR 184 billion due to higher interest rates
Statement of Lard Friese, CEO
"Our second-quarter results were very strong and contributed to a good first half of the year. Overall operating result from the ongoing business was 90% higher, supported by several favourable items in the Netherlands, including a large private equity dividend. Even excluding these items, we saw healthy operating performance in all of our businesses, especially in Netherlands Life and Insurance Europe. With cumulative expense savings of EUR 198 million, we have essentially achieved our overall cost savings target of EUR 200 million in the Netherlands ahead of schedule. While we are pleased with another quarter of strong results, there is room for further improvement. We will continue to focus on efficiency, improving the combined ratio of our Non-life business, strengthening the capabilities of our asset manager and increasing the profitability of our international insurance businesses.
On 2 July, we celebrated the first anniversary of NN Group’s listing on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange. In the first six months of this year, ING Group gradually sold down its stake in NN Group to 37.6% of outstanding shares. As part of ING’s sell-down in May, we completed a EUR 150 million share buy-back in line with our policy to return excess capital to our shareholders, while preserving a robust capital position. We will distribute an interim dividend of EUR 0.46 per ordinary share. In line with our dividend policy, we intend to pay a full-year ordinary dividend in accordance with our medium-term financial performance, while envisaging a pay-out ratio of 40-50% of the net operating result from the ongoing business.
Across our businesses we continue our customer-focused strategy of providing transparent products and services through tailored multi-access distribution, and efficient and effective operations. In Japan, we are catering to the needs of SME business owners with a new protection product offering death or severe disability coverage up to the age of 90. In terms of distribution, we are making more of our services accessible to customers anywhere and anytime. For example, in Turkey we launched a new client portal that makes it easier for customers to conduct transactions online also via mobile devices. In the Netherlands, we launched our newly developed platform for our four core pension products, while improving efficiency. Our rebranding programme also gained momentum during the second quarter, media campaigns in various countries further raised awareness about our brand promise ‘You matter’.
Going forward, we will continue to execute our strategy in order to achieve our financial objectives with a focus on capital generation and earnings improvement.”
Strategy and business highlights
NN Group’s strategy is to deliver an excellent customer experience based on great service and long-term relationships. We aim to achieve this by offering transparent products and services that serve customers’ lifetime needs. We do this by making our multi-access distribution network available to customers wherever and whenever they want, and by maintaining effective operations that deliver excellent customer service.
In the Netherlands Life segment, the focus is to reduce expenses and gradually shift to higher-yielding assets. Both of these priorities continued to deliver results in the second quarter. Another pillar of NN Life’s strategy is to benefit from its strong position in the pension market and selectively capture growth opportunities. Pension communication and awareness are important for customers to secure their financial future. That is the idea behind the ‘Pensioen Ophelder Service’ which was launched in the second quarter. This service has been designed for people who have built up pension rights with multiple employers and provides insight in their pension. This information can help them decide whether transferring the money to the pension fund of a new employer would be beneficial or not. New sales declined this quarter, mainly due to lower group pension renewals and lower sales of pension contracts. Cost reductions continued this quarter contributing to achieving the cumulative cost savings target in the Netherlands.
Netherlands Non-life focuses on offering transparent products and services. Ongoing management actions to improve underwriting performance resulted in a higher operating result, especially in Motor. The product rating index Moneyview awarded the Nationale-Nederlanden Retail Home Insurance product five stars (the maximum) for its terms and conditions. This product includes a guarantee against underinsurance with few restrictions or exclusions, as well as comprehensive coverage during repairs, renovation or the construction of a home.
Insurance Europe is shifting its business mix towards protection products and repositioning its savings and retirement products in response to the low interest rate environment. In line with the aim to provide customers with easy access to NN’s products and services, NN Hayat ve Emeklilik in Turkey launched a renewed client portal, as well as a new mobile branch app. NN Group has also started an international partnership with the non-profit organisation Junior Achievement Europe as part of our corporate citizenship programme, NN Future Matters. NN and JA Europe have joined forces to empower youth in the area of financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workforce readiness. In the second quarter Junior Achievement awarded NN Romania the title of ‘Investor in Education’ 2015.
Political and economic turbulence in Greece continues. NN Group is present in Greece through NN Hellas, which offers life and health insurance products. Given the situation, NN Hellas has been closely managing operations with a focus on continuing its service to customers. NN Group's direct exposure to Greek assets is limited in the context of the overall size of the Group.
Japan Life continued to execute its business diversification strategy in the second quarter of 2015. A new product called Smart Term, was added to the COLI protection product range. It provides death or severe disability cover for SME owners up to the age of 90. We also successfully expanded our bancassurance network, with six new banks distributing our COLI products.
Assets under Management decreased to EUR 184 billion, mainly due to negative market performance as a result of higher interest rates in the second quarter of 2015. Investment Management aims to grow its third-party business by following a tailored approach for each client segment. In target markets, Investment Management plans to protect and further expand its leading position and continues to develop a more distinct range of products, among which its sustainable product offering. Assets under Management in its sustainable equity and fixed income products stood at EUR 4.2 billion at the end of the second quarter of 2015. Furthermore, Investment Management announced the launch of a sustainable emerging market loan fund in cooperation with Dutch development bank FMO.
NN Bank continued to expand its mortgage and customer savings activities. In line with its strategy, NN Bank’s mortgage portfolio increased to EUR 9.5 billion from EUR 8.6 billion at the end of the first quarter. Customer deposits (internet savings and bank annuities) grew to EUR 8.0 billion at the end of the second quarter. NN Bank's phased-in Common Equity Tier 1 ratio increased to 14.2% at the end of the second quarter from 13.8% at the end of the first quarter. This increase reflects a capital injection of EUR 57 million by NN Group in NN Bank using the proceeds of a capital injection from ING Group to fulfill a commitment to the European Commission.
NN Group has applied for the usage of a Partial Internal Model for NN Group and the insurance entities in the Netherlands. The Solvency II capital ratio remains subject to significant uncertainties, including the final interpretations of the Solvency II regulations and the regulatory approval process.
Effective from 2015, NN Group intends to pay interim dividends calculated at approximately 40% of the prior year’s full year dividend, barring unforeseen circumstances. NN Group will pay a 2015 interim dividend of EUR 0.46 per ordinary share, or EUR 156 million in total based on the current number of outstanding shares (net of treasury shares). The 2015 interim dividend will be paid either in cash or ordinary shares from the share premium reserve at the election of the shareholder. To neutralise the dilutive effect of the newly issued shares for the stock dividend on earnings per ordinary share, NN Group will repurchase ordinary shares from ING Group equal to the number of shares that NN Group will issue as stock dividend at a price similar to the price used to calculate the stock fraction for the stock dividend. The NN Group ordinary shares will be quoted ex-dividend on 10 August 2015. The record date for the dividend will be 11 August 2015. The election period will run from 10 August up to and including 31 August 2015. The stock fraction for the stock dividend will be based on the volume weighted average price of NN Group ordinary shares on Euronext Amsterdam for the five trading days from 25 August through 31 August 2015. The dividend will be payable on 7 September 2015.
In line with its dividend policy, NN Group intends to pay an ordinary dividend in line with its medium term financial performance and envisages an ordinary dividend pay-out ratio of 40-50% of the net operating result from ongoing business.
Press call and webcast
Lard Friese and Delfin Rueda will host a press call to discuss the 2Q15 results at 12.30pm. CET on Wednesday 5 August 2015. Journalists can join the press call via + 31 20 531 5863 or follow the webcast on www.nn-group.com.
Investor conference call and webcast
Lard Friese and Delfin Rueda will host an analyst and investor conference call to discuss the 2Q15 results at 10:30am CET on Wednesday 5 August 2015. Members of the investment community can join the conference call at +31 20 531 5865 (NL), +44 203 365 3210 (UK), +1 866 349 6093 (US) or follow the webcast on www.nn-group.com.
- Publication 3Q15 results: Wednesday 4 November 2015 (provisional)
- Capital Markets Event: Thursday 19 November 2015 (provisional)
NN Group is an international insurance and investment management company, active in more than 20 countries, with a strong presence in a number of European countries and Japan. With around 12,000 employees the group offers retirement services, insurance, investments and banking to more than 15 million customers. NN Group includes Nationale-Nederlanden, NN (formerly known as ING Insurance) and NN Investment Partners (formerly known as ING Investment Management). NN Group is listed on Euronext Amsterdam (NN).
NN Group’s consolidated annual accounts are prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the European Union (“IFRS-EU”) and with Part 9 of Book 2 on the Dutch Civil Code.
In preparing the financial information in this document, the same accounting principles are applied as in the NN Group N.V. condensed consolidated interim financial information for the period ended 30 June 2015.
All figures in this document are unaudited. Small differences are possible in the tables due to rounding. Certain of the statements contained herein are not historical facts, including, without limitation, certain statements made of future expectations and other forward-looking statements that are based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Actual results, performance or events may differ materially from those in such statements due to, without limitation: (1) changes in general economic conditions, in particular economic conditions in NN Group’s core markets, (2) changes in performance of financial markets, including developing markets, (3) consequences of a potential (partial) break-up of the euro, (4) the implementation of the EC Restructuring Plan, (5) changes in the availability of, and costs associated with, sources of liquidity as well as conditions in the credit markets generally, (6) the frequency and severity of insured loss events, (7) changes affecting mortality and morbidity levels and trends, (8) changes affecting persistency levels, (9) changes affecting interest rate levels, (10) changes affecting currency exchange rates, (11) changes in investor, customer and policyholder behaviour, (12) changes in general competitive factors, (13) changes in laws and regulations, (14) changes in the policies of governments and/or regulatory authorities, (15) conclusions with regard to accounting assumptions and methodologies, (16) changes in ownership that could affect the future availability to us of net operating loss, net capital and built-in loss carry forwards, (17) changes in credit and financial strength ratings, (18) NN Group’s ability to achieve projected operational synergies and (19) the other risks and uncertainties contained in recent public disclosures made by NN Group and/or related to NN Group.
Any forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of NN Group speak only as of the date they are made, and, NN Group assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information or for any other reason. This document does not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities.