Atradius N.V. Reports Record 2006 Earnings



    AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, April 19 /CNW/ -- Atradius N.V., a global leader
in credit insurance and collections, today reported a 27.9% increase in net
profit from continuing operations to EUR 105.3 million in 2006 from EUR 82.3
million in 2005. Including discontinued operations, net profit in 2006 was 5%
higher than in 2005. The improvement was driven by a 1.7% increase in gross
earned premium to EUR 1,076.5 million from EUR 1,058.8 million in 2005 and a
7.8% decline in net operating expenses to EUR 315.0 million in 2006 from EUR
341.6 million in 2005.

    Financial Highlights

    
    -- Net profit from continuing operations grew 27.9% to EUR 105.3 million
      (2005: EUR 82.3 million)
    -- Net profit increased 5.0% to EUR 105.3 million
      (2005: EUR 100.3 million)
    -- Net investment result expanded 20.9% to EUR 55.5 million
      (2005: EUR 45.9 million)
    -- Total income after reinsurance rose 2.6% to EUR 749.3 million
      (2005: EUR 730.2 million)
    -- Net expense ratio improved to 41.0% from 47.4% in 2005
    -- Net claims ratio of 45.8% compared to 43.9% in 2005
    -- Net combined ratio improved to 86.8% from 91.3% in 2005
    -- Return on average shareholders equity was 16.3% in 2006 compared to
       18.1% in 2005 (2005: 15.1% excluding the net profit from discontinued
       operations)

    Insurance Segment
    
    Gross earned premiums increased 1.7% compared to 2005. Income from credit
checking fees increased 2.4%. Traditional credit insurance revenues grew 3.4%,
which was mainly driven by growth markets in Eastern Europe, the USA, and
Australia. In addition the structured credit and political risk solutions of
Special Products provided a EUR 19 million boost to insurance revenue. The
continued success in new market development and expansion were partly offset
by competitive pressure on pricing in mature markets.
    Bonding revenues were EUR 10 million lower than last year, which reflects
the portfolio optimization efforts in order to return to profitability.
    The reinsurance business whereby Atradius offers reinsurance solutions to
third parties, reported less earned premium than last year. This is solely due
to a change in the accounting estimate for revenue recognition, resulting in a
shift in earned revenue of close to EUR 25 million to future years. Without
this change in accounting assumptions, the insurance revenues would have shown
growth of 3.9% compared to 2005.
    Peter Ingenlath, Acting CEO of Atradius commented, "Our focus on
developing new innovative credit insurance products that more effectively meet
the needs of our customers along with improved customer service is helping
drive our growth. Along with this we continue to make great strides in
improving the performance of our Bonding unit through our focus on maintaining
and building profitable revenues in Italy, France and Nordic."

    
    Service Segment
    
    Service income increased 12.5% to EUR 55.0 million from EUR 48.9 million
in 2005. The increase was driven by a 21.0% increase in Collections revenue.
    Peter Ingenlath mentioned, "Collections and Information Services continue
to grow in importance and value. We are one of only a few companies that can
offer an extensive international collections service. This is helping drive
growth in revenues and spurring our continued expansion. In 2006 we opened new
Collections offices in Poland and Australia and we anticipate adding new
offices in Hungary, Mexico, Ireland and Hong Kong in 2007."

    
    Markets
    
    Revenue grew in all Atradius markets except for Germany and Belgium. In
Germany, portfolio growth was offset by the positive claims environment which
resulted in additional premium refunds. In Belgium premiums were down as a
result of cancellations and slower new business development.
    The Company's Nordic and UK markets grew by 8.6% and 4.2% respectively
over last year as strong product offerings resulted in solid new business
development and customer retention. Revenues in Italy grew 3.6%, but most
other Southern European markets averaged only marginal growth for the year.
Eastern European markets grew, on average, more than 80% over last year while
Australia (18%) and NAFTA (16%) also maintained strong growth in revenues as
Atradius expanded coverage and further built brand and product recognition in
these markets. The Global business unit, which provides service to
multinational companies with credit insurance needs in different countries,
grew 24% in 2006 benefiting from office expansions in new and emerging
markets.

    
    Geographic Expansion
    
    In 2006, Atradius opened new offices in Hong Kong and China, entered into
operating partnerships with China Continent Insurance Company, expanded its
joint venture with Tokio Marine and Nichido Fire Insurance Company in Japan,
developed a foothold in Brazil and early in 2007 opened an office in
Singapore. In addition, the shareholders of Atradius have agreed on the terms
of the combination of Atradius and Credito y Caucion. This combination is
expected to be completed before year end pending various regulatory and
anti-trust approvals.
    Peter Ingenlath added, "Expansion into new and less developed credit
insurance markets offers attractive growths opportunities through business
with the local subsidiaries of customers from the core markets but also with
local companies."

    
    Outlook
    
    Peter Ingenlath concluded, "We are seeing indications of a tightening
business environment in a number of our markets. As a result we anticipate a
gradual deterioration of the credit environment over the course of the year
which based on the current pricing developments may tighten margins.
    "As was the case in 2006, our primary goal in 2007 will be to maintain a
sound risk portfolio while increasing turnover. We see continued opportunities
to achieve this by building revenues in our core markets as well as our
smaller and emerging markets by leveraging our recent geographic expansion and
continuing to introduce relevant product upgrades. We will also support our
growth through continued expansion of credit insurance and collections
services in new markets like Turkey, Brazil, Russia, India and China,
continued growth in the US and Canada and through our proposed business
combination with Credito y Caucion. We are looking forward to completion of
the combination by year end. This will substantially expand our coverage of
Spain and Portugal and improve our ability to pursue business opportunities
throughout South America."

    
    About Atradius:
    
    Atradius is a leading credit insurer with total revenues of around EUR
1.3 billion and a 24% share of the world credit insurance market. It insures
approximately EUR 400 billion of world trade annually against non-payment and
provides a comprehensive range of risk transfer, financing and trade
receivables management services. With 3,500 staff and more than 90 offices in
40 countries, Atradius has access to credit information on 45 million
companies world-wide and makes more than 12,000 credit limit decisions daily.
It is "A" rated by Standard & Poor's (outlook stable) and A2 by Moody's
(outlook stable).





For further information:

For further information: Ian Miller of Atradius N.V., +1-613-256-9134, 
mobile, +1-613-294-2186, ian.miller@atradius.com Web Site:
http://www.atradius.com


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