W&W Group: Profit exceeds expectations
- Good, in some cases very good new business, cost efficiency and further expansion of digital offers lead to encouraging trend in income despite adverse market conditions and negative impact of IFRS accounting.
- Wüstenrot with strongest new home loan savings business in the company’s history and growth far above market average.
- Strong increase in premiums for property/casualty insurance exceeds industry trend.
- Proposal to the Annual General Meeting: Unchanged dividend of EUR 0.65 per share.
- Forecast for 2023: Consolidated net profit to come in within the target corridor of EUR 220 to 250 million, which has been long been the objective.
- W&W Executive Board Chair Jürgen A. Junker: “If you’re not getting any support from external tailwinds, it's all the more important to show what you’re made of. That is what the W&W Group succeeded in doing – once again – in 2022. We have a good grip on everything that we’re able to control ourselves.”
The Wüstenrot & Württembergische Group (W&W) recorded a very successful financial year in 2022. With consolidated net profit of EUR 261.5 million, the financial planning group achieved a result that exceeded its own expectations. This was ultimately aided by a strong closing quarter, which contributed EUR 101.3 to the result – despite considerable inflationary headwinds, turbulence on the financial markets and recessionary trends in Germany Moreover, the W&W Group posted good, in some cases very good new business last year. Wüstenrot recorded an increase in gross volume of 59.4 per cent, the best new business figure in its history. In property insurance and health insurance, Württembergische Versicherung likewise achieved clear premium growth. General administrative expenses rose by 4.7 per cent, considerably lower than the inflation rate in Germany. The contribution made by business that W&W generates with new products and services, including through digital channels – which were further expanded in 2022 – is becoming more and more substantial. The shareholders are to participate in last year’s business success with an unchanged dividend of EUR 0.65 per share. The Executive Board and Supervisory Board will propose this to the Annual General Meeting on 23 May 2023.
Jürgen A. Junker, Chairman of the Executive Board of W&W AG: “In 2022 the W&W Group further expanded its business, gaining market shares and customers and posting business performance that on the whole was more than solid. The effects of our new beginning, which we initiated six years ago, are becoming increasing apparent as we develop into an innovative, agile Group that is digitally strong and aligned to the needs of our more than 6.5 million customers. The operational strength we have achieved enables us to work successfully and profitably – despite the difficult market environment and the valuation of our investments mandated by IFRS accounting, which is separate from our successful operational business. The W&W Group once again proved itself to be resilient, stable and future-focused. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of our employees, whose commitment made this success possible. Because if you’re not getting any support from external tailwinds, it's all the more important to show what you’re made of.” ?
Key Group figures for 2022
- Net income came in at EUR 261.5 million, which thus exceeded the forecast figure of about EUR 250 million. The decline compared with the record figure of the previous year (EUR 352.2 million) was mainly attributable to changes in the value of the securities portfolio mandated by IFRS.
- General administrative expenses rose by 4.7 per cent to EUR 1.09 billion and thus at a rate considerably lower than inflation. The increase was predominantly due to operating expenses.
- In the Housing division, Wüstenrot increased gross new business by 59.4 per cent to €18.72 bn. That is the best new business figure in the history of Germany's second largest home loan savings bank and also growth that significantly outpaced the market. In addition to the sharp rise in mortgage interest rates following the end of the phase of low interest rates, the attractiveness of energy retrofits as a result of high energy costs and the good response to new home loan savings products, such as for climate-friendly investments, were demand-enhancing influence factors.
- In construction financing, new business for own account rose by 4.9 per cent to EUR 4.8 billion, despite the great uncertainty of investors as a result of rising interest rates and recession. Including brokering for third parties, which was intentionally very conservative in 2022, new business came in at EUR 6.42 billion (minus 6.2 per cent compared with the previous year).
- In the Insurance division, Württembergische Versicherung recorded good growth in new business. Gross premiums written in property insurance increased from EUR 2.19 billion to EUR 2.34 billion, a rise of 6.6 per cent that exceeded the market average. All segments (motor, corporate clients and retail clients) contributed to the growth, with corporate client business rising by an especially gratifying 18.9 per cent. The multiple award-winning digital brand Adam Riese continued its path of growth and now has more than 350,000 customers.
- In Life and Health Insurance, gross premiums written fell to a total of EUR 2.17 billion, following a result of EUR 2.54 billion in 2021.
- Health insurance continued to trend positively, with gross premiums rising by 4.7 per cent. In life insurance, the active reduction of single-premium income, which in 2021 had still accounted for a high share, led to the decline in premiums to EUR 1.88 billion (previous year: EUR 2.26 billion).
- The combined ratio in Property/Casualty Insurance improved to a strong 87.1 per cent following 87.7 per cent in 2021. In a multi-year comparison, claims development continued to be very good as a result of an underwriting policy that was also conservative in the 2022 financial year.
Most economic research institutes continue to anticipate that economic output in Germany will decline slightly in 2023. Although the W&W Group expects that inflation will abate compared with the previous year, it will still be considerably higher than it was prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. This will adversely impact household purchasing power and consumer demand. The situation in residential construction and for residential properties remains tight, and it will likely become exacerbated if the ECB continues to raise interest rates.
Given the operational strength and resilience it has achieved, the W&W Group will continue its strategic course in the current year and invest in digital transformation and thus in new products and services. This will be accompanied by strict cost controlling and further efficiency gains.
Provided that there are no new upheavals on the capital and financial markets, the Group expects consolidated net profit for the current financial year to come in within the target corridor of EUR 220 to 250 million, which has been long been the objective.
The W&W Group
The W&W Group came into existence in 1999 as a result of the merger of the two long-standing companies Wüstenrot and Württembergische. Today, it develops and provides the four components of modern financial planning: financial security, residential property ownership, risk protection and savings and investment. It combines the Housing, Insurance and brandpool divisions as equally strong pillars, which enables it to offer every customer the financial planning solution that suits them best. In doing so, the W&W Group focuses on omni-channel sales, ranging from its own mobile sales force to cooperation partners and sales agents, broker activities and digital initiatives. Today, approximately 13,000 people work as in-house staff or in the mobile sales force for the listed group headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.