Euler Hermes, a subsidiary of AGF and a member of the Allianz Group of diversified finance companies, has reported strong 2004 growth in its business as a result of endeavors that delivered a healthier ratio of payouts to premiums.

Euler Hermes, the world leader in credit insurance and one of the leaders in bonding and guarantees, has recorded a consolidated 2004 net profit of E206.4 million, up 41% from E146.1 million in 2003. Euler Hermes earnings per share amounted to E5.07 up from E3.72 the previous year.

Financial income rose 7% over 2003, excluding write-backs to long-term impairment provisions. At the end of 2004, the value of the company’s investment portfolio was close to E3 billion. As a result a dividend of E2.50 per share will be proposed at the annual general meeting to be held on April 22.

The key feature of 2004 was a sharp improvement in the group’s combined ratio, net of reinsurance, which amounted to 70%, down eight points compared to 2003. This improvement in the net combined ratio was due in part to a reduction in general overheads and in part to a fall in claims.

After the excellent results for 2004, Euler Hermes starts the year confident, Clemens von Weichs, chairman of Euler Hermes, announced. The turnover is expected to grow more than in 2004. Further…the efforts achieved by the group to reduce costs and manage the risks efficiently should enable us to produce very good results (going forward).

Looking forward into 2005, the group plans to continue to strengthen and diversify its distribution channels, introduce initiatives to increase customer loyalty and bolster its international development in new markets with high growth perspectives, while continuing its cost controlling measures.