Successful first half of 2016 for the Aduno Group
Zurich, 19 August 2016
The Aduno Group, Swiss specialist for cashless payment, was in good shape in the first half of 2016 and improved its key financial figures to new record levels. The Payment division broke through the mark of 1.4 million issued cards for the first time and continued to push forward with the digital transformation of the cards business. Consumer Finance held up well in a competitive market.
The Aduno Group reported turnover of CHF 315.1 million for the first half of 2016, up 28.5 per cent on the prior-year period. This growth was supported by the good performance of the cards business (Payment division), which posted a substantial increase in volumes. As a former member of Visa Europe Ltd., the business unit Payment benefited from the sale of Visa Europe Ltd. to Visa Inc. The Group received contributions to the value of CHF 71.7 million, including preferential shares of Visa Inc. worth CHF 17.3 million on the transaction date. Although the personal credit and leasing business (Consumer Finance division) faced a market that is continuing to shrink, it grew its new business in the personal credit segment.
Martin Huldi, Chief Executive Officer of the Aduno Group: “The Aduno Group posted a substantial increase in volumes that partially compensated for the regulatory reduction in the interchange fee in the cards business and the lower maximum interest rate for personal credits. For the first time we now also have more than 1.4 million issued cards, which provides a basis for higher future earnings. I am proud of our performance in the first half of 2016.”
New jobs created
The Aduno Group continued to invest heavily in digital transformation and mobile payment projects in the reporting period. This is also reflected in the number of employees: In the middle of 2016, the Aduno Group employed 806 full-time equivalents, 50 more than at the beginning of the year, as a result of which personnel expenses increased by 15.6 per cent on the same period last year to CHF 55.9 million. Other administrative expenses include a deferral of CHF 18 million relating to the outsourcing of business activities between the business units Payment and Internal Finance. Other expenses are on a par with or down on the prior-year period.
The operating result for the first half of 2016 was CHF 89.6 million, which is more than double the amount posted in the prior-year period, although this was largely due to the extraordinary contribution by Visa. Net profit amounted to CHF 74.9 million.
Payment division as the Group’s growth driver
Payment, which comprises the two complementary segments card issuing (Issuing; Viseca Card Services SA) and card acceptance and processing (Acquiring; Aduno SA) as well as the guarantee deposit business (Adu-noKaution AG), increased its sales volume by 6.4 per cent to CHF 7.9 billion in the first six months of 2016, with the Issuing and Acquiring segments each contributing around 50 per cent of this volume. The increase of 14.2 per cent in new credit card sales is very encouraging, enabling Viseca to raise the total number of cards issued to a record 1.4 million and increase its market share over the prior-year period. The guarantee deposit business was strengthened and expanded to the French-speaking parts of Switzerland by the takeover on 1 July 2016 of SmartCaution SA, a company that mainly operates in the Geneva area.
Digital services are popular
The Payment division continued to push ahead with the digital transformation of credit and prepaid cards and their digital payment solutions. The launch of VisecaOne and Viseca MasterPass was a big success and more than 400,000 Viseca cardholders have already registered for these digital services and installed the free VisecaOne app. These customers now benefit from a simple but secure authentication process for online payments. They can also use Viseca MasterPass as a digital wallet to pay for transactions at thousands of online shops throughout the world.
The credit card interface for its personal finance management (PFM) solution developed in collaboration with the fintech start-up Contovista AG has also met with a positive response from customers and partner banks. In view of the major potential of such data analytics solutions, the Aduno Group acquired a 14 per cent stake in Contovista in the first half of 2016. The Group’s product portfolio was expanded in the second quarter by the Aduno Anypay mobile payment solution. Anypay is a mobile card reader that connects to an app on a smartphone or tablet, making it possible to accept all commonly issued cards.
Consumer Finance defies challenging market conditions
In the first half of 2016, Consumer Finance – including the personal credit and leasing business of cashgate AG – was confronted with a challenging market environment. This is reflected in the new business volume, which was 3.5 per cent down on the first half of the previous year at CHF 416.6 million. Both the market for personal credits and the leasing market were in decline. The good news is that cashgate managed to continue on the path of growth for personal credits, with new volumes improving by 1.9 per cent. This further growth in its market share was supported by the fact that cashgate already reduced its interest rates for personal credits back in April to less than the maximum interest rate of 10 per cent applicable since the start of July. The new fixed interest rates are 7.9 and 9.9 per cent. A special interest rate of 4.9 per cent was introduced for home owners. cashgate is therefore continuing to pursue a clear, fair and transparent price policy. In parallel with the shrinking overall market, the leasing business sustained a 9.8 per cent decline in its new business volume.
The Aduno Group is confident about the second half of 2016. The economic climate remains favourable to business. There are no signs of weakening consumer sentiment and interest rates are likely to remain low and exchange rates stable. The market for cashless payment solutions is expected to see above-average growth and should be boosted further by new payment solutions. The reduction in the interchange fee is also not a purely negative development: The acceptance of credit cards will become more attractive for merchants, which will boost volumes and partially compensate for the reduced fee. The picture is less rosy for the credit business. The Aduno Group expects the market for personal credits to decline further, in particular under the full impact of the reduced maximum interest rate and continued price pressure in the leasing segment. However, cashgate will continue to do well with its clearly formulated price strategy. The Aduno Group will continue to invest heavily in strategic projects.
The complete Half Year Report for 2016 is available at halfyearreport.aduno-gruppe.ch