Fernando Mata (MAPFRE CFO): “We hope to see profits, and therefore dividends, grow in the coming years”
The year ahead will be full of challenges. Twelve months have now passed since the start of the war in Ukraine, and experts believe that growth prospects will remain bleak in the coming months, combined with high inflation, the return to normal of monetary policy, and disruptions in the supply chain. "We have ended the year satisfactorily, in particular considering the adverse context," acknowledged MAPFRE's Chief Finance Officer, Fernando Mata, during the now traditional meeting with private shareholders to present them with details of the Group's results, held last Thursday, February 16, at Fundación MAPFRE’s headquarters in Madrid. The meeting was also led by Felipe Navarro, Manager of Capital Markets and Investor Relations and Treasury, and Leandra Clark, Deputy Manager of Investor Relations. MAPFRE has undertaken this exercise of transparency for the past five years in both Madrid and Barcelona, with this marking the 13th meeting.
This difficult environment that Fernando Mata referred to has forced companies from all sectors to adapt and look for new ways to grow in this new framework of action. "MAPFRE continues to show a solid business model and the strength of its balance sheet," he added, while highlighting the strong performance of Latin America, "which is a shining light" and which was, along with Spain and MAPFRE RE, the biggest contributor to achieving the highest revenue in the history of MAPFRE and the highest premium volume in the past five years.
In this sense, he added that, unless there are any extraordinary circumstances, the forecast is that profits, and therefore dividends, will continue to grow. “Insofar as we are seeing and forecasting growth, unless something extraordinary happens, it would be normal for us to continue to see profit grow. We have no financing or solvency needs that would make us consider withholding what is yours from you,” he emphasized. The CFO reminded those present that MAPFRE’s payout, part of the profits that a company sets aside for the payment of dividends, came to 70% (447 million euros) in 2022.
Felipe Navarro also took that moment to point out that shares, despite 2022 being a bad year for the markets, performed better than the Ibex 35. He touched on the strong start to the fiscal year but in particular since the presentation of results on February 9. “Over the past few days, we have seen a significant increase in the share price, coming in at more than 6 billion in terms of market cap, and growth in 2023 currently stands at 8%, helping us come much closer to the levels that we believe MAPFRE should be at, and much closer to the Group's equity value,” he indicated.
In turn, Mata, during the Q&A with attendees, asserted that there would be no additional outlets or restructuring: “We are going to see prudent balance sheets and investments and try to consolidate the business model by transforming the company, which is increasingly digital, to try to control costs.”
Room for growth in health
In the coming years, Mata explained that “everything is about the transformation and digitalization model” of the company. “Last year, we dared to draw up budgets and plans for the coming six years, and not because we have a crystal ball. In one way or another, we are setting out the path of what we expect for MAPFRE in the coming years,” he asserted.
The CFO also pointed out that, against this backdrop of change, there are lines of business where there is significant room for growth, such as health, which “will soon become the most important line of business in Spain and which lately has been growing above the sector average.”
MAPFRE's attributable profit in 2022 amounted to 642 million euros, 16.1% down year on year. On a comparable basis with 2021, when the adjusted profit reached 715 million euros, it would have been 7% lower. Group revenue increased by 8.3% in 2022, to 29.51 billion euros, while premiums grew by 10.8%, exceeding 24.54 billion euros.