Net profit in the first half of 2007 rose to €235 million, showing a robust growth of 26.3%. This includes the result of SNS Property Finance. SNS is very happy with the underlying development of the net result in the first half. Earnings per share rose by 14.9% to €1.00. The return on shareholders' equity amounted to 14.6%. The Supervisory Board has resolved, upon the proposal by the Executive Board, to distribute an interim dividend of €0.36 per share in the form of cash or shares.
Sjoerd van Keulen, Chairman of the Executive Board: "In the first half of 2007, the savings portfolio of SNS Bank grew from €13.7 billion to €15.0 billion (+ 9.3%); market share continued to increase, to 6.5%, and the margins improved. Both SNS Bank and ASN
Bank products contributed to this development. SNS Bank's investment products also did well. The market value of SNS Fundcoach's assets under management increased to €732 million (+ 24.3%), in particular due to new inflows. The total assets under management increased with 12.5% to €18.4 billion. The conditions in the mortgage market remained competitive. The mortgage portfolio remained stable on €42.1 billion. In the quest for a healthy balance between margin and volume, the market share fell from 8.0% at year-end 2006 to 6.7% at the end of June 2007. The new inflow of SME mortgages amounted to €0.3 billion. At the end of June 2007 the SME portfolio amounted to €2.9 billion. The SNS Property Finance's credit portfolio increased with 9.1% to €9.6 billion. On balance, we are very pleased with the growth and the quality of the interest income."
REAAL Verzekeringen delivered strong growth in the life insurance operations, in particular driven by regular premium income (+ 5.7%). Single life premiums volume fell to €305 million. The increase of REAAL Verzekeringen's net profit was moderated by the effects of January's Kyrill storm (net €13 million). The second quarter was marked by the strategic takeover of the Dutch activities of AXA.
Net profit of Group activities was positively influenced by the sale of part of our Van Lanschot Bankiers shares (€21 million) and by the sale of La Ser Lafayette Services Nederland (€14 million).
In the first half of 2007 we made great strides in further growing SNS REAAL. With the intended takeover of AXA Nederland, including Winterthur Nederland and DBV Nederland, our insurance operations will almost double their market position. In connection with this acquisition, new shares were issued (€350 million) and hybrid capital was raised (€350 million); both these transactions were recently completed successfully. In order to increase the liquidity of the share, Stichting Beheer SNS REAAL sold a number of its shares. This resulted in a 32.0% higher liquidity, measured by the number of shares outstanding. The takeover of Regio Bank, which will considerably enhance our distribution capabilities, was finalised on 1 July.'
On 22 June, SNS REAAL issued a total of 21,212,121 new ordinary shares at a price of 16.50. Stichting Beheer SNS REAAL sold 15,151,515 existing ordinary shares (including the greenshoe Share issue €250 million), lowering its stake in SNS REAAL to approximately 54.3%. There are currently 258,555,997 SNS REAAL shares outstanding.
This issue of new shares (€350 million) served to partly fund the intended acquisition, as announced on 4 June 2007, of AXA Nederland, Winterthur Nederland and DBV Nederland for €1,750 million in cash. The remaining part of the funding was completed in the course of the past few months. SNS REAAL expects to complete this acquisition in the course of the second half of 2007.
Payment of interim dividend
The Supervisory Board has resolved, on the proposal of the Executive Board, to pay an interim dividend of €0.36 per SNS REAAL share over the first half of the financial year 2007. This is in line with the company dividend policy that, in principle, interim dividends amount