euro adhoc: Generali Holding Vienna AG / Annual Reports / Generali Vienna Group: Sharp increase in profit (E)

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Consolidated financial statements of the Generali Vienna Group show increase in profit from ordinary activities from EUR6mn to EUR42mn -On the way to becoming Austria's market leader - First positive net earnings for the year posted in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Consolidated Financial Statements of the Generali Vienna Group for 2003, presented today, show marked year-on-year improvements in its key figures:
- Net profit for the year posted by this fully integrated financial services group - which includes numerous insurance companies, pension funds and real-estate, service and investment companies in Austria and seven countries in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the Generali Bank - grew by 46 per cent to EUR 25.3 million.
- Profit from ordinary activities increased from EUR 5.5 million to EUR 42.1 million.
- Premium income grew by 1.0 per cent to EUR 2.6 billion. Premium income from primary insurance business (without reinsurance) advanced by 4.0 per cent to EUR 2.5 billion. The relative contribution to the group's aggregate premium income from primary insurance business made by its insurance subsidiaries in Central and Eastern Europe increased to nearly 25 per cent.
As CEO Dietrich Karner emphasized in his Letter to Shareholders, commenting on that development, "Our clear strategy - a strategy that is being implemented with the help of concrete action and the strict monitoring of results - is having a visible impact. We have been able to reinforce our group's already strong focus on profitability."

On the way to becoming Austria's market leader
The Austrian insurance subsidiaries' results improvement was particularly striking. Generali Versicherung, Interunfall and Europäische Reiseversicherung posted total profit of EUR 15.3 million, having still recorded a loss of EUR 124 million in 2002. The group is one of Austria's three biggest insurance enterprises with a market share of 14.5 per cent, and Generali Versicherung will become Austria's biggest insurer after its merger with Interunfall in 2004.

No. 2 in Hungary with a major market share
Most of the Hungarian insurance companies' net profit for the year which totalled EUR 6.1 million was generated by Generali-Providencia, but travel insurer EUB also contributed to total profits. The Generali Group ranks second in Hungary with a market share of 17.6 per cent.
The Generali subsidiary in the Czech Republic was also profitable, already posting net profit for 2003 of EUR 2.4 million. Net profit for the year returned by the group's Romanian subsidiary was above plan at EUR 0.3 million. The Generali insurance companies in Poland were able to post a net profit for the year - EUR 3.1 million—for the very first time.
The group subsidiaries that are still under development also did well. The group's net loss for the year in Slovakia was nearly just half as big as in 2002 at EUR 1.4 million. Generali's Slovenian subsidiary developed better than expected, posting a net loss for the year of EUR 2.4 million; it still plans to reach breakeven point in 2006. Having only become operative at the end of 2002, Generali in Croatia returned a substantially better-than-planned net loss for the year of EUR 1.0 million.

Market capitalization increases by nearly EUR 500 million Generali Holding Vienna AG has been listed on the Vienna stock exchange since 1886. The company will be distributing a total of EUR 16.0 million from its profit in 2003, exceeding the previous year's distribution by 9.9 per cent. The AGM in Vienna on 26 May 2004 will therefore be asked to approve the distribution of 25 cents per no-par share (dividend of 20 cents and bonus of 5 cents). The Generali Holding Vienna share gained 41 per cent in price during 2003, giving the company market capitalization of EUR 1,665.7 million at year-end 2003. That was EUR 482.1 million more than the comparable figure for year-end 2002. Generali Holding Vienna AG advanced one place to fifth in the market capitalization rankings of the companies traded in Vienna's Prime Market segment.

AGM: Approved capital of EUR 30 million
The agenda for the AGM will also include authorization of the Managing Board to carry out capital increases totalling up to EUR 30 million (nominal) over the next five years. Given the stock's current price of EUR 27.75 per no-par share (27 April 2004), that would make it possible to add up to EUR 832.5 million to the company's own funds.
In the words of CEO Dietrich Karner, "We expect the process of consolidation in the insurance industry - especially in the Central and Eastern European region - to continue. We want to be able to play an important role in this process."

Further inquiry note:
Generali Holding Vienna AG
Josef Hlinka
Tel.: (++43-1) 534 01-1375
Fax: (++43-1) 534 01-1593
Tel: 534 01 0
FAX: 534 01 1593

Emittent: Generali Holding Vienna AG Landskrongasse 1-3 AT-1010 Wien Tel: 534 01 0 FAX: 534 01 1593 Email: WWW: ISIN: AT0000661350 WKN: 066135 Indizes: ATX, ATX Prime, WBI Börsen: official dealing Wiener Börse AG; free trade Berliner

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Wertpapierbörse, Bayerische Börse, Hamburger Wertpapierbörse, Baden-Württembergische Wertpapierbörse, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse Branche: Insurance
Sprache: Englisch