M&G Swings to Loss in 'Challenging' 2022, Aviva Hikes Dividend

M&G swung to a GBP2.50 billion pre-tax loss in 2022, from profit of £788 million in 2021

Alliance News 9 March, 2023 | 10:38AM
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City of London

M&G PLC on Thursday reported a fall in assets under management and a weaker profit outcome in a tough year mired by market uncertainty.

The company said assets under management and administration at the end of 2022 amounted to £342.0 billion, down 7.6% on-year from £370.0 billion. The decline was "driven by negative market movements from the volatility experienced in markets throughout a challenging year".

More positively, its Wholesale Asset Management arm return to client inflows for the first time since 2018. Inflows there amounted to £500 million, compared to £3.8 billion net outflows in 2021.

M&G swung to a GBP2.50 billion pre-tax loss in 2022, from profit of £788 million in 2021. Profit was hurt by an investment hit of £15.66 billion, compared to a return of £12.91 billion in 2021. Its pre-tax loss attributable to equity holders amounted to £2.12 billion, swinging from profit of GBP81 million.

Gross premiums earned rose 36% to £6.51 billion from £4.78 billion.

Profit was also hurt by a £172 million non-cash hit from mismatching losses in the annuity portfolio and foreign exchange losses on its dollar denominated subordinated debt.

M&G declared a second interim dividend of 13.4 pence per share, up 9.8% from 12.2p a year earlier.

Its total dividend for 2022 was 7.1% higher at 19.6p from 18.3p.

Looking ahead, it expects to generate GBP200 million worth of cost savings by the end of 2025. It also intends for its Asset Management & Wealth division to account for more than half its adjusted operating profit by that year.

It is on track to achieve GBP2.5 billion worth of capital generation by 2024.

Ahead of its results, there was a report that M&G may be the object of a takeover by Macquarie Group. Sky News last week Wednesday reported Macquarie is weighing up a bid.

Reuters this week Tuesday reported Macquarie's chief executive had dismissed news of the possible bid as "speculation". M&G shares were 1.6% higher at 219.95 pence each in London on Thursday morning. It has a market capitalisation of around GBP5.21 billion.

Meanwhile, at Aviva…

Aviva PLC on Thursday announced a £300 million share buyback as it announced its full-year results with dividend up by 41%. Shares were up 3.3% at 464.90 pence each on Thursday morning.

In 2022, the insurer swung to a loss of £1.14 billion from a profit of £2.04 billion the year prior. Loss per share was 38.2 pence, from an earnings per share (EPS) of 50.1p in 2021.

Gross written premiums were down to £18.92 billion from £19.40 billion, while net earned premiums rose to £14.98 billion from £14.39 billion in 2021.

Its adjusted operating profit from continuing operations, meanwhile, rose to £2.21 billion from £1.63 billion. This beat Barclays analysts' forecasts of £1.55 billion for 2022.

UK & Ireland Life adjusted operating profit was up 34% with strong performance in Retirement," driven by improved margins, earnings growth on the in-force book and other favourable experience", the firm said.

Its Solvency II return on equity was 16.4%, up from 10.7% last year, while its Solvency II shareholder cover ratio was 212%, down from 244%.

Chief executive officer Amanda Blanc said: "our core businesses in the UK, Ireland and Canada grew in 2022, and contributed to a very strong, all round performance. Life insurance value of new business is up 15%, general insurance sales are up 8% and overall operating profit is up 35%. We are investing to make it easier for customers to do business with Aviva and customer numbers in the UK have grown to 15.5 million."

Looking forward, Aviva said the "positive momentum" seen in 2022 has continued, reinforcing its confidence in its financial targets in 2023. It expects solvency II own funds to reach £1.5 billion by 2024.

Aviva declared a final dividend of 20.70 pence per share, up from 14.70p last year. This brought its total payout for the year to 31.00p, up 41% from 22.05p and in-line with prior guidance.

Additionally, the FTSE-100 firm announced a share buyback programme of up to a maximum aggregate consideration of £300 million, starting from tomorrow.

This is in line with Berenberg's estimates.

Aviva said it entered into a non-discretionary agreement with Citigroup Global Markets Ltd to undertake the programme by making market purchases of the shares. The programme is expected to complete by June 30.

By Eric Cunha, Alliance News news editor, and Xindi Wei, Alliance News reporter

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