Increase the return to shareholders. Generali, the third European insurer behind Allianz and Axa, but number one in Europe, has announced that it wants to increase the distribution rate of its profit between 55% and 65% over the 2019-2021 period. On the occasion of the presentation of its new strategic plan, the group also announced to aim for an average annual growth of its earnings per share from 6% to 8%. Generali's objective is a return on equity of more than 11.5% on average.
"This plan is based on accelerating growth, from what we built in the previous plan: a strong capital position and best-in-class efficiencyWednesday morning, Philippe Donnet, CEO of the group, told a press conference in Milan. We can focus now on growth. "
Of the 10.5 billion euros of cash that Generali hopes to release, 3 to 4 billion will be available for organic and external growth. The rest will be devoted to dividends (between 4.5 and 5 billion) and debt reduction (1.5 to 2 billion euros by 2021). "There are many opportunities for growth," explained Philippe Donnet, while tempering the prospects for mergers and acquisitions. "Earnings per share growth objective is not based on M & A".
For the rest, the plan of the insurer is classic bill, in line with the previous. Generali wants to continue to push its fires in Europe, especially with individuals and SMEs. It will invest one billion euros in its digital transformation. It will also grow its asset management platform, which has just distinguished itself in France with the acquisition of a stake in Sycomore AM. In this business, where Generali's ambitions were formalized in May 2017, the company aims to grow revenues by 15% to 20% a year. "We want to increase from 6% to 35% the share of outstandings managed for third parties by 2020-2021, adds Philippe Donnet. At this time, Generali will no longer be an insurer, but an insurer and an asset manager ".
Generali shares were up slightly (+ 0.9%) on Wednesday at 11 am on the Milan Stock Exchange.