Good group result despite weak financial markets
o The Group did well in a period of financial unrest because of sound buffer capital
o Improved technical result in non-life insurance
o Book yield 5.85 per cent and value adjusted yield 3.50 per cent in life insurance
o Stronger market position in life and pension insurance
o Non-life company maintains its market share
In 1998, the Storebrand Group recorded an operating profit of NOK 2,238 million, before distribution of profit to the life and pension policyholders. This is NOK 2,571 million lower than in the preceding year, and is due to the special performance of the Norwegian financial market in the second half of 1998. After distributing life and pension policyholders' share of the profit, the Group's profit amounted to NOK 953 million, compared to NOK 1,012 million in 1997. The group result for 1998 shows weaker financial income but better results from non-life insurance.
The Group's net premium income amounted to NOK 16,747 million, against NOK 14,642 million in 1997, or a rise of 14.4 per cent.
In 1998, the life insurance group recorded an operating profit of NOK 1,786 million. This is NOK 2,573 million (59 per cent) lower than in the year before, due to a weaker financial result. Despite this considerably weaker financial result, Storebrand achieved a very competitive yield last year with a book yield of 5.85 per cent and a value-adjusted yield of 3.50 per cent. The corresponding yield figures for 1997 were 9.96 per cent and 10.45 per cent respectively.
The non-life company recorded an operating profit of NOK 809 million compared to NOK 684 million in 1997, a rise of 18.3 per cent. The improvement in the non-life result was mainly due to the technical result improving by NOK 275 million.
Earnings per share amounted to NOK 3.40, compared to NOK 3.57 in the preceding year. The Board of Directors has decided that no dividend will be distributed for 1998. This will reduce the need for new external capital in connetion with financing the acquisition of Finansbanken. As a consequence of this decision, the Board will give existing shareholders pre-emptive rights in the planned increase in share capital. As previously stated, the company's expressed goal is to distribute a dividend in the years to come.
The Group's total assets rose last year by almost 7.5 per cent to NOK 123,072 million. Unrealised gains were reduced by NOK 3,069 million in 1998 and at the end of the year amounted to NOK 3,480 million. At the end of 1998, the Group's capital ratio stood at 13.4 per cent compared to 14.4 per cent at the end of 1997. The statutory minimum at the end of 1998 was 8 per cent. The reduction is due to the redemption of the preference shares and growth in total assets, which for the most part is invested in equities.
For full report with tables follow the enclosed linke
Oslo, 3 March 1999 <br> <br>For further details, please contact: <br> <br>Christian Storm, Treasurer, telephone + 47 22 31 10 85, mobile + 47 934 03 266 <br>Jack Frostad, Director of Public Relations, telephone + 47 22 31 57 57, <br>private + 47 33 05 50 32, mobile 928 26 255 <br>