At its 27th Annual General Meeting, Helvetia Holding presented the best business result in its history to the 2 279 shareholders with voting rights in attendance at the Olma show grounds in St.Gallen (representing 64.84 percent of the share capital). Based on the steady profitable growth, the dividend is to be increased on a sustainable basis. Helvetia posted 2.6% currency-adjusted growth in business volume. In addition, the core business proved resilient thanks to diversified business activities: robust underwriting and a one-off profit led to an IFRS-based after-tax profit of CHF 614.4 million. With its helvetia 20.25 strategy, Helvetia is systematically focused on customer needs and exploits organic and inorganic growth opportunities in a target-oriented manner.
"The 2022 financial year once again demonstrated the stability and growth potential of Helvetia's business model. We have again succeeded in creating sustainable value for our shareholders", said Philipp Gmür, Group CEO of Helvetia, with reference to the 2022 financial statements.
Chairman's address focuses on sustainability
To add context to the key financial figures, Thomas Schmuckli, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Helvetia Holding, provided the Annual General Meeting with information on the topic of sustainability at Helvetia, highlighting that sustainability is now viewed as a comprehensive topic addressed by Helvetia within the ESG framework. Thomas Schmuckli went into greater detail on the reduction of CO2 emissions. On the question of reducing CO2 emissions in Helvetia's own insurance portfolio, he stated: "Our contribution toward reducing CO2 emissions is focused on customers and solutions, and therefore takes various forms. For existing customers with CO2-intensive business, we examine their strategy for reducing CO2, and for new business there are exclusions for CO2-intensive business, for instance for coal-fired power stations."
Dividend increased by 40 rappen
When it published its 2022 financial statements, Helvetia announced that, based on the strong performance of the core business, the one-off profit from the sale of the Spanish life insurance company Sa Nostra Vida and the steady optimization of capital deployment, it would increase the target for the cumulative dividend distribution to more than CHF 1.65 billion by the end of the strategy period. The Board of Directors therefore proposed that the Annual General Meeting increase the dividend by 40 rappen to CHF 5.90 per share. The shareholders approved this proposal.
Thomas Schmuckli confirmed as Chairman of the Board of Directors
The Annual General Meeting confirmed Thomas Schmuckli as Chairman of the Board of Directors. All other Board members, with the exception of Jean-René Fournier, who left the Board after 12 years, were also re-elected. The shareholders elected Yvonne Wicki Macus and René Cotting as new members of the Board of Directors.
Amendment of the Articles of Association due to the revision of company law
Due to the revision of company law that came into force at the beginning of the year, the Board of Directors proposed that the Annual General Meeting adopt various amendments to the Articles of Association. These amendments aim, among other things, to improve protection for minority shareholders and to modernize the provisions on the holding of Annual General Meetings. The Annual General Meeting approved all amendments to the Articles of Association.
Furthermore, shareholders approved the total amounts of fixed remuneration for the members of the Board of Directors and the fixed and variable compensation for Group Executive Management. Finally, the law firm Bachmann of St.Gallen was confirmed as independent proxy and KPMG AG, Zurich, was once again elected as auditor.