Storebrand - Interim results Q1 2005

Stable and sound development

  • Storebrand reports a group profit of NOK 314 million for Q1 as compared to NOK 224 million (NOK 417 million including If) for the same quarter in 2004.
  • Storebrand Life Insurance's results reflect continuing strong growth in premium income and satisfactory investment returns.
  • Storebrand Bank reports improved earnings as a result of stronger net interest income, lower operating costs, a gain on disposal and a low level of net new loan loss provisions.
  • The Annual General Meeting approved the payment of a dividend for 2004 and the cancellation of Storebrand's holdings of its own shares, and gave the Board a mandate for further share buy-backs. The group's financial condition is strong.

    "The first quarter results demonstrate a continuing strong performance by Storebrand. We are achieving satisfactory results for customers and shareholders, and are well placed for continuing growth in the market for long-term savings in life insurance", comments Idar Kreutzer, Group CEO.
    Strong growth in life insurance premium income
    Storebrand Life Insurance reported a 47% year-on-year increase in premium income (excluding transfers) in Q1 2005 to NOK 6.9 billion.  The low level of interest rates has helped to maintain strong sales of savings-related products to the retail market.
    The first three months of the year have confirmed that Norwegian companies increasingly offer pension schemes for their employees. Storebrand set up 160 new defined contribution pension schemes for corporate customers in Q1, of which 45 were pensions schemes that were converted from defined benefit schemes. Storebrand has now set up around 1,200 defined contribution pension schemes since it launched this product in 2001. This spring, the Norwegian Parliament is due to decide whether to make it compulsory for all Norwegian companies to offer pension schemes for their employees from 1 January 2006.
    Storebrand produced a satisfactory and competitive return on its life insurance policyholders' funds in Q1. Booked investment return for Q1 was 1.4%, equivalent to an annualised return of 5.7%. The value-adjusted return for Q1 was also 1.4%, while the value-adjusted return including unrealised gains on bonds held to maturity was 1.2%.
    Good investment returns on mutual funds
    Storebrand Investments had assets under management of NOK 171 billion at the close of Q1. This represents an increase of NOK 6 billion since the start of the year. Storebrand Investments produced a better return in Q1 than the comparable benchmark indices (before deducting management fees) on 74% of the securities funds it manages. Eight of the ten portfolios managed for Storebrand Life Insurance outperformed their benchmark indices.
    Progress in the bank
    Storebrand Bank's profit for Q1 showed a year-on-year improvement of NOK 53 million. The quarter's earnings reflect stronger net interest income, lower operating costs, a low level of loan losses. and effects of the transition to IFRS The sale of Finansbanken Denmark generated an accounting gain of NOK 17 million. .The transaction also increased equity by NOK 18 million.
    Oslo, 11 May 2005
    Appendix: Board of Directors' Interim report for Q1 2005

    For further information contact: <br> <br> Egil Thompson, Director of Corporate Communications <br> Tel: +47 22 48 95 86 Mobile +47 93 48 00 12 <br> Nils Robert Hodnesdal, Investor Relations <br> Tel: +47 22 31 55 33 Mobile +47 93 40 38 13

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