The company held a meeting with more than a hundred shareholders to explain the results for the 2021 fiscal year
MAPFRE organized another meeting between company directors and shareholders, an event it was able to hold in person again. Before an audience of more than a hundred investors, 40 of them physically present in the Fundación MAPFRE auditorium and more than 80 following the event online, MAPFRE CFO and Member of the Board Fernando Mata reviewed the fiscal year 2021 results and highlighted the company’s return to its pre-pandemic dividend.
“We have returned to the path of sustainable dividends,” Mata said during the sixteenth edition of this meeting, after the board of directors approved proposing to the Annual General Meeting a gross dividend per share of 14.5 cents charged against 2021, the same as in 2019 and two cents higher than in 2020. This increase is part of MAPFRE’s commitment to a “growing” dividend, “always paid in cash,” according to Mata, who pointed out that the decision to reduce remuneration in the COVID context was based on a recommendation by EIOPA (the European insurance supervisory authority).
MAPFRE finished 2021 with earnings per share of 7.6%, a figure that positions it as the third-best company on the IBEX 35 in terms of profitability, the director of Capital Markets, Investor Relations and Treasury, Felipe Navarro, pointed out. The payout ratio (proportion of profit paid out as dividends) for 2021 is 58.4%, a level that Mata defended to the shareholders because it enables MAPFRE to combine shareholder remuneration with financing the growth of the company’s activity. Increasing the premium volume is the best way to raise the dividend, he emphasized.
Regarding 2021, business growth was one of the points that the CFO highlighted the most, with an 8.2% increase in premiums (up to 22.16 billion euros) during the period. However, this growth would have been double digits, 10.7%, without currency effects. Although part of its profit has been reserved to offset depreciations, Mata expressed optimism about 2022, indicating that last year saw falls in the U.S. dollar and the Brazilian real, MAPFRE’s main sources of foreign exchange, but he anticipates a reversal of the trend and “tailwinds” with foreign currencies this fiscal year.
He also referred to the company’s solvency ratio, which as of September 2021 stood at 193.8%. It is likely to reach 200% when it is updated to the end of 2021, according to Fernando Mata. “We aim to be a solvent and reliable company,” he added.
He also spoke of the bancassurance agreements, pointing out that the agreement with Banco Santander “is going very well,” and said he was convinced that it would continue to grow.
In response to questions from the shareholders, the CFO explained that the likely scenario of interest rate hikes is, broadly speaking, positive for MAPFRE, because it will be accompanied by growth in Life insurance contracts and higher profitability for financial investments, where the Group is mainly present in fixed income.
Another concern raised by private investors at the meeting was the potential impact of the conflict in Ukraine, but Mata explained that MAPFRE “has no risks” in that country nor in Eastern Europe in general, and its exposure is “highly diversified.” The damage will only be “collateral” due to the possible slowdown in economic growth or decline in its share price, which it has been observing for weeks now, due mainly to this reason, compared to the rise in the previous months.