The Aduno Group on track despite a challenging environment
Zurich, 22 April 2016
The Aduno Group, the Swiss specialist for cashless payment, held up well in 2015 in a challenging environment. Despite the strong franc and substantial investments, the net profit of CHF 74.6 million was slightly better than in the previous year, mainly driven by the Issuing and personal credit business. The already sound equity base was strengthened further.
The Aduno Group reported turnover of CHF 484.1 million for the 2015 financial year, 4.2 per cent less than in the previous year. In spite of the lower turnover, the operating result improved by 1.8 per cent year-on-year to CHF 84.1 million. Net profit stands at CHF 74.6 million, which is up slightly from the previous year, allowing the Aduno Group to improve its profit margin from 14.7 per cent in the previous year to 15.4 per cent. Martin Huldi, CEO of the Aduno Group: “2015 was a challenging year. We achieved our objectives and successfully completed our strategic projects or pushed ahead with them according to plan. The fact that we managed to improve our results in 2015, in spite of investing around CHF 30 million in innovation and strategic projects, is an excellent performance. All in all, the Aduno Group now has a higher degree of maturity.”
Strong franc burdened commission income
Payment division, 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 (AdunoKaution AG), recorded turnover of CHF 353.7 million in 2015. Consumer Finance with cashgate AG contributed CHF 98 million. A further CHF 99 million was contributed by the central financing unit. Of the total turnover, 41.3 per cent came from commission income, 20.1 per cent from annual fees, 21.5 per cent from interest income, and 17.1 per cent from other income. The drop in commission reflects the reduction of the domestic interchange fee from 0.95 to 0.7 per cent as of 1 August 2015. At the same time, the strengthening of the franc due to the SNB's decision has meant that the value in Swiss francs of the foreign sales generated in euros was lower, as was the commission earned on these transactions. These two factors combined had a negative effect of about CHF 12 million.
Payment division successful in distribution
The Payment division generated a transaction volume for the cards business of CHF 15.6 billion in 2015, up 1.2 per cent on the previous year. Issuing and Acquiring each contributed around 50 per cent of this volume. New card sales rose by 6.2 per cent year-on-year, underlining the efficiency of our sales organisation and the good collaboration with the partner banks. As a result, the total number of cards issued increased by 3.9 per cent to some 1.4 million cards. The growth in the Acquiring volume for debit cards is due to the acquisition of new key accounts recognized in income in the financial year.
Strategic digital payment projects implemented
Digitisation once again grew in importance in the past year. The Aduno Group is convinced that it will not only successfully hold its own in this dynamic and competitive environment, but will also be among the winners of digitisation. Given the dynamic developments surrounding digital payment, the Aduno Group pushed ahead at full steam with the strategic projects associated with digitisation in 2015. The focus was placed on implementing the necessary technologies, systems and processes. In parallel to this, the Group presented solutions that have already taken concrete form, including VisecaOne, a digital service for safe and convenient Internet shopping. With the VisecaOne app, customers can check and approve card payments in online shops on their smartphones. In addition, the Aduno Group and its cooperation partners launched SwissWallet, a digital wallet allowing customers to manage several cards via a single login. The solution guarantees not only global acceptance and a high degree of security, but is also subject to Swiss law and Swiss data protection guidelines.
Consumer Finance expands its market position
Consumer Finance division reported volumes for the past year on a par with 2014. At CHF 828.5 million, new business was up 1.3 per cent, while the credit portfolio contracted by 0.3 per cent to CHF 1,265 million. The personal credit segment did well in the reporting period. While applying the same risk policy, the volume of new business rose by 11.2 per cent in a shrinking market. cashgate's attractive and transparent price model therefore paid off again in the past year. cashgate also launched a study loan to finance studies, thereby tapping a completely new business area. In parallel with the shrinking overall market, the leasing business also sustained an 8 per cent decline in new volume.
Sound equity base, successful capital market issue
The Aduno Group’s total assets as at 31 December 2015 amounted to CHF 2,207 million compared to CHF 2,246 million at the end of 2014. Equity totalled CHF 543.2 million compared to CHF 486.4 million at the end of 2014. At 24.6 per cent, the equity ratio was once again substantially better than in the previous year (21.7 per cent), thereby laying a solid foundation for the Group's further growth.
Aduno Holding AG issued a floater for CHF 100 million and a fixed-interest bond with a zero coupon for CHF 100 million in April 2015. Both bonds mature in 2017. With this dual issue, Aduno Holding AG is taking advantage of the favourable capital market environment to reduce its financing costs.
Many new jobs
Since its establishment, the Group has always had personnel growth and has created a large number of jobs, bucking the general trend in the financial sector. At the end of 2015, the Aduno Group had 756 employees (full-time equivalents), 61 more than at the end of 2014. The increase in staff numbers was mostly driven by the large number of projects in which the Aduno Group is currently involved.
Outlook for 2016
The Aduno Group expects the business environment to remain demanding in the current year. The strong franc is still a challenge, and in the credit card business, the reduction in the domestic interchange fee for MasterCard and Visa will for the first time be effective for a full year. The new maximum interest rate for personal credits of 10 per cent will also apply from the middle of the year. These factors will have a negative effect on earnings. However, the Aduno Group remains optimistic about the current year. Falling income in the personal credit business will be offset by rising volumes, and the card business is likely to benefit from the improved conditions for merchants created by the lower interchange fee. The Aduno Group will also promote the digitisation of its business with great momentum. Conrad Auerbach, Chief Financial Officer of the Aduno Group: “The customer interface will be decisive in the digital age. We are pursuing a clear strategy of mastering this interface and offering the customer added value – via the data that we use constructively and the information that enhances the customer's security.”
The complete online annual report for 2015 is available at annualreport.aduno-gruppe.ch