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Ad-hoc-Meldung/Ad hoc Release nach § 15 WpHG/pursuant to § 15 of the German Securities Trading Act - UniCredit: the first quarter 2006 results

 

Ad-hoc-Meldung/Ad hoc Release
nach § 15WpHG/pursuant to § 15 of the German Securities Trading Act

THE FIRST QUARTER 2006 RESULTS CONFIRM THE NEW UNICREDIT GROUP'S CAPACITY FOR VALUE CREATION
IMPRESSIVE GROWTH OF NET PROFIT (€1,357 MILLION, +20.3% YOY) AND OPERATING PROFIT (€2,660 MILLION, +27.9% YOY) - EXCELLENT CONTRIBUTION FROM THE HVB GROUP (NET PROFIT: €651 MILLION, +93.8% YOY )

Net profit at €1,357 million, up 20.3% YoY 
Operating profit equals €2,660 million, +27.9% YoY (+21.5% YoY on a like for like exchange rate and perimeter basis), thanks to the strong performance in net commission income (+21.3% YoY) and the positive trend in the financial markets
Cost/Income ratio improved from 59.8% to 55.3% YoY due to:
   Significant increase in revenues (total revenues equal €5,955 million, +10.1% on a like for like exchange rate and perimeter basis)
   Good cost control (operating costs total €3,295 million, +2.5% YoY on a like for like exchange rate and perimeter basis)
Positive signals in terms of asset quality:
   Total deteriorated loans down by 3.0% in the quarter
   Cost of risk down to 57 bp (-3 bp versus FY 2005)
Core Tier 1 Ratio improved (5.74% in first quarter 2006 versus 5.53% at December 2005), due to significant capital generation 
Strong positioning of the Group in asset management with an increase over the end of 2005 in mutual fund market share  in Germany and Austria:
   Italy: 15.17% (stable vs. January 2006); Germany: 5.78% (+34 bp); Austria: 17.25% (+9 bp)
Good performance of the HVB Group, thanks also to the contribution from BA-CA:
   Net profit of €651 million, +93.8% YoY (BA-CA Group: +47.6% YoY )
   Operating profit of €1,328 million, +57.7% YoY (BA-CA Group: +48.7% YoY)

Today the Board of Directors of UniCredito Italiano approved consolidated results for first quarter 2006 (2)
The Group closed the first quarter of the year with a net profit of €1,357 million (mn), an increase of 20.3% compared to the same period in the previous year (+14.6% YoY net the foreign exchange effect and on a comparable perimeter basis (3) which represents a significant growth particularly in light of the presence in first quarter 2005 of a non recurring capital gain of approximately €200 mn from the sale of the 20.3% equity interest held in the company Autostrada Brescia Verona Vicenza Padova ("Serenissima"). Operating profit (€2,660 mn) shows, in fact, growth of 27.9% over the first quarter in 2005 (+21.5% YoY on a like for like exchange rate and perimeter basis).
The HVB Group, with a net profit equal to €651 mn, up 93.8% YoY, and an operating profit of €1,328 mn (+57.7% YoY) made a very positive contribution to the Group's results. This positive performance is primarily attributable to strong growth in net commission income and the positive trend in the financial markets.
The Group's total revenues reached €5,955 mn, an increase of 15% YoY (+10.1% YoY on a like for like exchange rate and perimeter basis), due to growth in both net interest income (€3,070 mn, +8.5% YoY and +4.7% YoY on a like for like exchange rate and perimeter basis), and net non-interest income (€2,885 mn, +22.9% YoY and +16.7% YoY on a like for like exchange rate and perimeter basis).
The trend in net interest income (€3,070 mn, +8.5% YoY and +4.7% YoY on a like for like exchange rate and perimeter basis) shows growth for both UniCredit excluding HVB (+9.1% YoY and + 7.9% YoY on a like for like exchange rate and perimeter basis), and for the HVB Group (+8% YoY and +1.9% YoY respectively).
Net interest for UniCredit excluding HVB (€1,456 mn, +8.4% YoY) was sustained by an increase in volumes, in the presence of what continue to be contrasting signals regarding the spread, which particularly improved in terms of deposits. On an annualised basis, the largest contribution came from the Retail Division (+8.8% YoY) for approximately half of the overall increase, but the trend was positive for all the Divisions (Corporate +3.3% YoY; New Europe +9.5% YoY at historical exchange rates and +4.3% YoY at constant exchange rates). The HVB Group (€1,464 mn, +7.0% YoY) benefited from the expanded perimeter of consolidation. Net this effect, the trend was nonetheless positive even on a like for like foreign exchange and perimeter basis, thanks above all to the performance of the CEE Division.
Customer loans, equal to €424.3 billion, show an increase of 3.3% YoY (-0.5% vs. December 2005). UniCredit excluding HVB shows robust growth when compared to the previous year (+11.8% YoY) with positive trends in the three most important Divisions (Retail: +14% YoY, Corporate: +8.6% YoY, New Europe: +19.4% YoY at constant exchange rates). In terms of products, steady growth in household mortgages (+17.5% YoY) and consumer credit (+30.3% YoY) in Retail and leasing in Corporate (+27.3% YoY) continued. 
The HVB Group loans (€259.1 billion) show a slight drop (-1.2% YoY). This result reflects the HVB Group's strategic reduction of real estate loans and the introduction of a more risk correlated pricing policy.
Net deteriorated loans for the Group (that includes non-performing loans, watchlist, restructured loans and past due loans) amounted to €17.6 billion, down by 3.0% vs. December 2005. Non performing and watchlisted loans totalled €15.5 billion (-2.2% vs. December 2005).
The total deteriorated loans/customer loans ratio, fell from 4.26% at the end of 2005 to 4.15% at March 2006, with a coverage ratio of 49.7%. The incidence of net non performing loans and watchlisted loans on total loans dropped from 3.70% at December 2005 to 3.64% at March 2006.
Direct deposits amounted to €467.7 billion, an increase of 5.4% YoY and 1.2% for the quarter. UniCredit excluding HVB came in at €180.2 billion (+ 10.1% YoY, +1.1% for the quarter) and the HVB Group reached €284.9 billion (+3.1% YoY, +1.4% for the quarter).
Net non-interest income (€2,885 mn) reported significant growth (+22.9% YoY, +16.7% YoY on a like for like exchange rate and perimeter basis) due to a strong performance in all segments.
Net commissions (€2,128 mn) rose 21.3% YoY. UniCredit excluding HVB came in at 1,165 mn (+15.6% YoY) with a particularly positive contribution from the Private & Asset Management Division (+31% YoY), including UniCredit Private Banking (+34.4% YoY), the Corporate Division (+27% YoY) and the New Europe Division (+22% YoY at constant exchange rates). The HVB Group reported robust growth in commissions over first quarter 2005 (€963 mn, +28.7% YoY).
The Group's net commissions include a significant increase in wealth management and securities in custody fees that came in at €1,179 mn, a significant increase over the previous year (+32.8% YoY). 
All components of wealth management and securities in custody reported growth over first quarter 2005; specifically investment fund fees grew to 616 mn, +35.1% YoY, thanks to an increase in sales and assets in the primary markets (Italy, Germany, Austria), fees on segregated accounts (€61 mn, +144%) were supported by the launch of UniCredit's highly customisable lines and fees for the placement of insurance products  (€128 mn, +15.3% YoY), particularly in HVB.
Fees from trading, placement and other services related to securities administered (€374 mn, +26.4% YoY), were sustained particularly by the HVB Group's activities.
Commissions for other activities rose 9.5% YoY for a total of €949 mn. In particular, there was a marked increase in fees linked to payment services (+15.4% YoY), for both UniCredit excluding HVB and the HVB Group, as well as in currency trading (+16.8% YoY), thanks largely to HVB's forex dealing (+19.8% YoY). The increase in fees involving current accounts, guarantees and loans (+3.2% YoY) is attributable to activities carried out by UniCredit excluding HVB (+5.6% YoY).
Assets under management by the Group's Asset Management companies amounted to €232 billion, an increase of 3.8% over the end of 2005. The most dynamic growth came from the international segments Pioneer (+35% over December 2005) and HVB (+4.3% in the quarter), as well as Germany (+4.5% over the end of 2005) and Austria (+4.0% over the end of 2005).
Net trading, hedging and fair value, equal to €666 mn in first quarter 2006, registered an increase of 13.7% YoY (+6.7% on a like for like exchange rate and perimeter basis), thanks to the HVB Group's exceptional performance (+65.2% YoY), that more than compensates for the slowdown reported by UniCredit excluding HVB (-33.6% a/a).

The results of both the HVB and BA-CA Groups benefited from favourable capital market conditions, with growth in all areas of business and significant increases in both the "equity", component as well as contracts tied to interest rates and foreign exchange. The drop of UniCredit excluding HVB is primarily due to the different accounting methods used in fair value valuation of a call option issued on Assicurazioni Generali stock and to the shares held in Assicurazioni Generali classified among available-for-sale (AFS) assets. The significant increase in the price of the stock referred to in the course of the quarter resulted in a negative change in the call option's fair vale of approximately €57 mn, that impacted the quarter's income statement, while the revaluation of the equity investment (equal to €72 mn from the beginning of the year) is temporarily booked to shareholders' equity until realisation. The total gain realised on Generali stock at March 31st, 2006 equalled €398 mn.
Other income totalled €91 mn, an increase of €85 mn YoY, of which €65 mn attributable to the HVB Group.
Operating costs (€3,295 mn) showed modest growth of 2.5% YoY (net the foreign exchange effect and on a comparable perimeter basis). This item includes € 1,576 mn (+5.7% YoY (4)) attributable to UniCredit excluding HVB while the HVB Group, at €1,701 mn, reported a slight decrease (-0.4% YoY4). The increase in staff costs (€1,931 mn, +3.8% YoY(4)) can be evenly divided between UniCredit excluding HVB (€955 mn, +4% YoY(4)) and the HVB Group (€976 mn, +3.7% YoY(4)) and is also due to the variable compensation tied to the excellent commercial results, that more than counterbalances the staff reductions made in the HVB corporate centre (-220 heads in the quarter). The increase attributable to UniCredit excluding HVB is more significant in New Europe as average inflation levels exceed those of the rest of the Group, where increases are linked to national labour contracts and a variable component, which more than offset the positive effects of staff reductions (-725 heads in the year, primarily in the Retail Division). 
Total operating costs, equal to €1,364 mn, registered a slight increase on a like for like exchange rate and perimeter basis (+0.6% YoY), thanks to the drop in the HVB Group's costs (-5.6% YoY, due to stable fixed administrative expenses and a strong reduction in amortisation and depreciation), that almost offsets the increase reported by UniCredit excluding HVB (+8.8% YoY).
Cost/income ratio fell to 55.3% in first quarter 2006 from 59.8% in the same period of the previous year.
The Group's operating profit in first quarter 2006 reached €2,660 mn, an improvement of more than 27.9% YoY. This positive evolution reflects the growth of UniCredit excluding HVB (€1.333 mn, +7.6% YoY) and the excellent operating performance of the HVB Group (€1,328 mn, +57.7% YoY).
Total provisions and write-downs in the quarter amounted to €624 mn versus €584 mn in first quarter 2005. More in detail:
  • Provisions for risks and charges equal to €63 mn, versus 71 mn in first quarter 2005
  • Net write-downs of loans and provisions for guarantees and commitments of €561 mn versus €513 mn in first quarter 2005.
Net income from investments amounted to €176 mn, versus €282 mn in first quarter 2005, that included a capital gain of approximately €200 mn from the sale of the equity interest held in the motorway "Serenissima". UniCredit excluding HVB contributed €138 mn, that includes approximately €80 mn from the sale of the equity interest held in Casse Cuneesi as well as the capital gain on Immobiliare Lombarda (approximately €20 mn). Net income from investments for the HVB Group, equivalent to €99 mn, include a capital gain of €55 mn realized by HVB on the sale of a portion of its interest in Babcock & Brown, adjusted in the consolidated accounts as already revalued at the time of first time consolidation.
Income tax for the period, equivalent to €691 mn, registered an increase of 30.9% versus first quarter 2005, with an incidence on profit before tax of 31.2%, an increase of 30.6% versus the entire year 2005. Profit after tax, therefore, amounted to €1,521 mn (+21.7% YoY). Assets in the process of being sold contributed some €23 mn. Net profit for the period, therefore, amounted to €1,544 mn (+23.4% YoY, + 16.1% YoY on a like for like exchange rate and perimeter basis) with a breakdown substantially equally divided between the two components (€806 mn  UniCredit excluding HVB and €798 mn the HVB Group).
Minority interests' profit in the first quarter totalled €187 mn, versus €123 mn in first quarter 2005. The increase is primarily due to the minority interests of the HVB Group, net the directly held interest in BA-CA.
The net profit attributable to the Group equalled €1,357 mn, with an increase of €229 mn (+20.3%) versus first quarter 2005.
The Group's portion of shareholders' equity amounted to 36,540 mn at 31 March 2006 (vs. 35,203 mn at the end of 2005).
Estimated Core Tier 1 came in at 5.74% at the end of March 2006, an improvement over December 2005 (5.53%). The estimated Total Capital Ratio reached 10.97% (vs. 10.34% in December 2005).
As from the end of March 2006 the Group's organisation consisted of a staff (5) of 133,868 employees (-267 heads compared to December 2005) and a network of 7,320 branches (6) (+136 vs. the end of 2005).

Attached are the key Group's figures, the Group's reclassified balance sheet and income statement, the income statements of UniCredit Group ex HVB (with Divisions), HVB Group and BA-CA Group, which are not subject to certification by the Independent Auditors.

Notes:
(1) The comparison in Italy refers to April 2006 over January 2006 as per new methodology introduced by Assogestioni (Italian association of asset managers); German market share: BVI perimeter; Austrian market share: VOIG perimeter
(2) In first quarter 2006 the perimeter of consolidation was expanded to include the 38 companies belonging to the Immobilien Group, HVB Bank Latvia, Joint Stock Commercial Bank HVB Ukraine, several companies of BA-CA's  "Central Eastern Europe" Division (including Nova Banjalucka Banka, CAIB International Markets, and BPH Investment Fund Company), as well as other smaller companies for a total of 48 companies. Additionally, in the period between March and December 2005 a number of significant changes took place in both the old UniCredit Group's (as from the end of September the Yapi Kredi Bankasi was included), and the HVB Group's (in particular IMB) perimeter of consolidation as well as several banks of Central Eastern Europe controlled by BA-CA (Hebros Bank, Banca Tiriac, Eksimbanka and HVB Bank Serbia and Montenegro). In the balance sheet at 31 March 2006 Uniriscossioni, 2S Banca and Pekao Development were classified among the "Non current assets and disposal groups for sale" along with Splitska Banka already so classified as from December 2005.
(3) In the quarter both the USD and the Polish Zloty, currency in which the Pekao and BPH Group's largest balance sheet and income statement items are denominated, depreciated versus the Euro by 2.5% and 2.1% respectively. Both currencies, however, appreciated against the Euro with respect to the average between first quarter 2006 and first quarter 2005 by 9.1% and 5% respectively. 
(4) the foreign exchange effect and on a comparable perimeter basis
(5) "Full time equivalent ". The Koc Group is proportionately consolidated in the figures indicated. The HVB Group figure at December 31st reflects changes in the perimeter of consolidation that took place during the first quarter.
(6) In the figures indicated the Koc Group is proportionately consolidated at 100%

UniCredito Italiano S.p.A.
Via San Protaso 1/3
20121 Milano

Securities listed on German regulated markets:
ISIN IT0000064854
WKN: 850832
Listed: Official Market (Amtlicher Markt), Frankfurt Stock Exchange (General Standard)