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Investor Relations release

27.01.2016 - Strong 2015 financial year at comdirect – pre-tax profit increased to €90.6m

  • Increased profit target comfortably achieved
  • Earnings at an all-time high: €371m
  • Record trading year: 14.5 million B2C trades
  • 3 million customers, of which 2 million B2C customers
  • 64 thousand new custody accounts and 107 thousand new current accounts in B2C
  • Proposed dividend: 40 cents per share
  • Re-envisioning banking: from direct bank to smart financial companion

Quickborn/Frankfurt am Main. The comdirect group closed the 2015 financial year with a pre-tax profit of €90.6m, which was a 10% increase on the high level achieved in the previous year (€82.5m). “This means we have clearly achieved our pre-tax profit target of over €85 million, which was increased in October”, said Arno Walter, CEO of comdirect bank AG. “comdirect has had a really good financial year. With a return on equity of almost 17%, comdirect is one of the most profitable banks in Germany.” Profit after tax amounts to €65.0m compared with €66.2m in the previous year, which included a positive non-recurring effect of €6m resulting from a tax audit.

As was the case the previous year, the proposed dividend is 40 cents per share. In total, €56.5m are to be distributed. This equates to a dividend ratio of 87%. €8.6m will be allocated to retained earnings to strengthen the equity base for continued growth.

Total income amounted to €370.6m. This represents growth of 4.8% on the previous year’s record figure (€353.5m). The reason for this further increase was the number of trades with B2C customers, which were up 31% on the previous year at 14.5 million transactions (previous year: 11.1 million). “In 2015, our customers traded more than ever before – even after a record year in 2014”, explained Walter. “On the one hand, we had more customers trading in securities, and on the other, customers were significantly more active in trading.” As a consequence, annualised order activity per custody account increased from 12.9 in the previous year to 15.9.

Accordingly, net commission income rose sharply by 18% to €228.4m (previous year: €193.2m), reaching the highest value in the bank’s history. In view of the persistent zero-interest rate environment, net interest income after provisions for possible loan losses was 8% below the previous year’s value (€145.5m) at €134.5m, despite increasing deposits by customers. The 3% rise in administrative expenses to €280.0m (previous year: €271.0m) was outstripped by earnings. The rise is primarily the result of the bank’s strong growth and high processing costs arising from the high number of trades.

In the B2C business line (comdirect bank AG), total assets under custody increased from €34.75bn to €39.94bn in 2015. This increase reflected particularly high net fund inflows totalling €4.1bn (previous year: €2.0bn). Since the start of the year, the number of customers has increased by 92 thousand, exceeding 2 million for the first time. At the same time, the number of current accounts has risen by 107 thousand to 1.27 million, while the number of custody accounts has increased by 64 thousand to 944 thousand. “While most banks are currently losing custody accounts, we are growing in this area. We are especially pleased about that as investing and saving with securities in the current interest rate environment is particularly important at the moment for our customers, and an important earnings driver for us”, said Walter, adding: “We will be concentrating more strongly on exactly this area in future. We will be a trailblazer in this area, supporting our customers in taking control of their own financial decisions through innovative and smart solutions.” A current example includes the AnlageAssistent (InvestmentAssistant), which gives customers an individual and comprehensible investment proposal in just a few steps with a focus on cost-efficient ETFs. In addition to the current account, customers can now open a custody account in just a few minutes, anytime and anywhere. The whole process works entirely digitally – via VideoIdent, and even with a smartphone. “Today, we are already more than a direct bank.” According to Walter, “We are re-envisioning banking, becoming a smart financial companion who makes customers’ lives that little bit easier when taking care of financial issues.”

The B2B business line (ebase GmbH) increased its customer base to 988 thousand (end 2014: 983 thousand). The vital new customer business has compensated well for the seasonally-determined cancellations of custody accounts for capital-building payments (VL). Total assets under custody increased to €25.56bn (end 2014: €24.19bn).

The comdirect group’s total number of customers increased to a record high of 2.99 million in 2015 and its total assets under custody rose to €65.5bn – also a record – (year-end: €58.94bn).

The full annual report will be published on 23 March 2016. The figures stated in this press release are as yet unaudited.

Overview*
€ thousand Q4/14 Q1/15 Q2/15 Q3/15 Q4/15
Net interest income
after provisions 36,358 35,179 33,771 32,869 32,690
Net commission income 50,651 60,519 55,596 58,659 53,591
Other income 5,076 2,370 2,818 1,104 1,422
Administrative
expenses 76,137 73,408 65,515 66,086 74,971
Pre-tax profit 15,948 24,660 26,670 26,546 12,732
After-tax profit 17,220 18,016 19,569 19,135 8,322
€ thousand 2014 2015 2015 vs. 2014
Net interest income
after provisions 145,524 134,509 -7,6 %
Net commission income 193,150 228,365 18,2 %
Other income 14,799 7,714 -47,9 %
Administrative
expenses 270,995 279,980 3,3 %
Pre-tax profit 82,478 90,608 9,9 %
After-tax profit 66,193 65,042 -1,7 %
*Figures for prior periods have been adjusted due to restatements

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