New Generali strategy launched
> € 7 billion Cumulative Net operating cash by 2018
> € 5 billion total dividends to 2018
€ 1.5 billion in total savings 2012-2018
The Group plans to become a leader in the European retail insurance sector with smarter & simpler products and services. The whole customer experience will also take on greater importance, from when they start to look for information to when the contracts are up for renewal.Generali presented its new strategic plan at the Investor Day in late May; this plan aims to set out a new business model and achieve new, challenging financial targets focused on generating more cash and increased dividends.
The Group intends to achieve a net operating cash of over €7 billion cumulatively in the four years to 2018, while total dividends will amount to over €5 billion in the same period.
The current cost reduction plan will continue, with savings of €250 million per annum from 2012 for a total of € 1.5 billion by 2018. A total of €1.25 billion will be invested in technology, data analytics and more flexible operating platforms.
Focus on the insurance business
Acquisition of GPH Holding completed The Generali Group attained 100% ownership of Generali PPF Holding B.V. (GPH) in January by acquiring the remaining 24% of shares held by PPF Group, in accordance with the agreements signed in January 2013. With acquisition of full ownership of GPH, the holding company operating in Central Eastern Europe as one of the largest insurers on that market changed its name to Generali CEE Holding B.V.. The acquisition of the remaining shares of GPH was completed under the terms previously announced to the market, for a final price of € 1,245.5 million.
Generali announced in May a strategic business repositioning in Germany, consistently with Group strategy. The aim is to further enhance the competitive position of the Group in the German market by the end of 2018, through simpler, businessoriented governance, stronger focus on distribution strengths, a new business model in Life insurance to ensure long-term profitability, and a more modern, leaner operating platform. The repositioning will be based on the following key business strengths:
- simplified governance that is more business-focused by incorporating the most important operating entities into Generali Deutschland AG;
- multi-channel approach and customized services with Generali, AachenMünchener and CosmosDirekt.;
- “New Normal” model in the Life business, with high performance and low capital absorption products;
- building a smarter and simpler operating platform with improved IT architecture;
- consolidation of back office operations.
The Telco demerger was finalized in June, which meant that the Telecom Italia ordinary shares owned by Telco – 22.3% of the shareholders’ equity – were distributed to its shareholders (of which 4.31% to the Generali Group). These shares were then sold on the market. When the demerger took effect, the shareholders’ agreement among the Telco shareholders was terminated.
Acquisition of MyDrive Solutions In July, Generali acquired full control of MyDrive Solutions, an English start-up founded in 2010 and leader in the use of data analytics tools to profile driving styles; the aim was to offer innovative and tailor-made products for customers with the most virtuous drivers benefitting from lower rates. In line with the new strategy announced at the most recent Investor Day, the acquisition of MyDrive will foster the introduction of a centre of excellence in data analysis at Group level. The data analysis activities will be expanded to a vast array of sectors, from fraud prevention to sophisticated customer segmentation, thereby facilitating the creation of intercompany synergies and optimization of the products on offer.
At the end of August, Generali and Obi Worldphones announced a pioneering exclusive deal through which the Group will be able to exploit the mobile channel reaching up to 20 high-growth markets by 2017. Under the terms of the deal, Generali and Obi – a start-up whose co-founder is John Sculley, former CEO of Apple - will jointly develop a mobile insurance platform based on native applications that are included in the standard set-up of mobile devices; the aim is to reach a prospective customer base of more than 10 million people through the offer of highly useful services right from the home screen of Obi Worldphones. The applications will be developed on a country-specific basis and offered to clients in the markets where both Generali and Obi operate, starting with Turkey, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates.
Sale of BSI completed On 15 September the Generali Group completed the sale of BSI to Banco BTG Pactual. In accordance with the agreement signed on 14 July 2014, the final price for the sale was about CHF 1,248 million, comprising about CHF 1 billion in cash and the remaining amount in BTG shares listed on the BM&FBOVESPA stock exchange of São Paulo. The sale of BSI completed Generali’s strategy to focus on its core insurance business and improved its capital position, concluding the turnaround plan launched in January 2013.
The transaction improved the Group’s Solvency I ratio by 8 p.p.. The sale of the bank also significantly reduced Generali’s non-insurance activities.
An innovative agreement was signed on 29 October between the Generali Group and the United Nations’ Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) - the world’s leading scientific institution in the research and transfer of knowledge to emerging and developing countries; it is based in Trieste, and operates with the support of the Italian Government, the IAEA and UNESCO. This agreement will support a three-year project for the study, analysis and prevention of seismic episodes.
The Group announced the first Generali Innovation Challenge on November 9 in association with Microsoft; this international project involved the research and promotion of talent and startups that can respond to new business challenges in the insurance sector through innovative ideas and state-ofthe- art technological solutions.
Debt-optimization and strengthening financial solidity
€ 2 billion in renewed revolving credit lines Assicurazioni Generali renewed its revolving credit lines in May; the facilities were signed in May 2013 for a total value of € 2 billion, and may be used by the Company within a period of 3 to 5 years depending on the credit line. It will only impact the Group’s financial debt if the facility is drawn down, and will allow Generali to improve financial flexibility to manage future liquidity needs in a volatile environment. The new credit facilities replaced the previous ones – both the lines that had a 2-year duration and had expired and those with a 3-year duration that were closed in advance. A group of 21 leading Italian and international lenders made offers to provide credit facilities, with total offers amounting to € 13 billion, more than 6 times the company’s request. The competitive bidding process adopted by Generali allowed the Group to select 9 lenders and obtain very favourable conditions, strongly improved with respect to May 2013, both in terms of amount offered and pricing.
€ 1.25 billion Bond issue for institutional investors On 20 October Generali issued a subordinated bond for a total amount of € 1.25 billion, targeting institutional investors. The issue attracted around 400 investors for almost € 5 billion, 4 times higher than the target. The bond is intended to refinance the 2016 subordinated call dates of the Group , amounting to a total of € 1.25 billion. The issue attracted strong interest from international investors, who accounted for approximately 89% of allocated orders, confirming the credit the Group enjoys on the international markets. 49% of the bond was allocated to investors in the UK and Ireland, 11% to Italian investors, approximately 9% to French investors, 9% to German investors and 4% to Northern European investors. There was also significant interest from Asian investors. On 27 October the rating agency AM Best announced that it assigned a bbb+ rating to the subordinated bond issue.
Relations with rating agencies
At Generali’s request, Standard & Poor’s (S&P’s) withdrew its rating on the Group on 13 February. Generali will therefore no longer have an S&P rating. The decision is based on a thorough review including consultation with investors and other stakeholders, which highlighted the inflexibility of S&P’s criteria and its failure to take account of the significant improvement in the Group’s financial solidity achieved in the last two years. Furthermore, the automatic link to the sovereign rating applied by S&P did not recognize the high level of diversification in the Group, nor the benefits of its broad geographical presence. That is why General decided to ask for the S&P rating to be withdrawn. In accordance with industry norms, Generali will keep its rating with three major rating agencies: Moody’s, Fitch and AM Best.
Thanks to the improvement in the Group’s capital position and operating performance, the rating agency Fitch upgraded the rating on the Generali bonds on 26 August. A key factor leading to the rating upgrade was the strong focus of the management on the capital strengthening and on reducing the financial leverage. The outlook was confirmed as stable.
On 23 October the rating agency AM Best confirmed Generali’s FSR (Financial Strength Rating) rating as A (Excellent). For the first time, AM Best assigned the same FSR rating also to the Generali Italia and Ceská Pojištovna. AM Best also confirmed the ratings of the debt instruments issued or guaranteed by Generali. The outlook was confirmed as stable. AM Best said that the rating reflects the Group’s very strong business position in continental Europe, solid operating performance and improving capitalization.
A stronger international management team Generali strengthened its governance in April with the arrival of two new managers to lead the Asian and Americas areas. Jack Howell is the new Asia Regional Officer responsible for Generali’s activities in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. Generali is one of the leading foreign Life insurers in China. Antonio Cassio dos Santos joined the Group as Americas Regional Officer. Generali is one of the leading foreign insurers in Latin America, operating in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Ecuador and Panama. The Group also operates in North America with the Generali U.S. branch. Jaime Anchustegui has been appointed EMEA Regional Officer, the area covering twelve markets between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Moreover, Giovanni Liverani joined the Group Management Committee (GMC), as Country Manager Germany. He also started his new role as CEO of Generali Deutschland Holding.
On 3 November the Financial Stability Board (FSB), together with the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and the national Control Authority, published its updated list of Global Systemically Important Insurers (G-SIIs), removing Generali from the list.