Comdirect reports 62.2% pre-tax profit rise for 2006

Source: comdirect bank

Comdirect bank has closed financial year 2006 with pre-tax profit of EUR 85.6m - a rise of 62.2% on the previous year (EUR 52.8m).

"We have had an outstanding financial year. We have invested, achieved strong growth and recorded record results for the fourth year in a row," said Andre Carls, CEO of comdirect bank. The dividend this year is particularly high: the Board of Managing Directors will be proposing a distribution of EUR 1.40 per share to shareholders (previous year: EUR 0.24). This amount comprises the distribution in full of the net profit (EUR 0.40 per share) and the special dividend announced in October 2006 (EUR 1.00 per share).

Higher order figures as well as steadily growing income from investment funds and advice produced a rise in net commission income of 37.9% to EUR 136.6m. Net interest income before provisions improved by 38.6% to EUR 88.7m as a result of strong growth in the deposit volume and higher interest rates in the market.

The planned expenses for the comvalue growth programme resulted in a 15.6% rise in other administrative expenses to EUR 92.8m. Personnel costs increased by 11.7% to EUR 33.1m. This was due primarily to the rise in the number of employees from 638 as of the end of 2005 to 732 on 31 December 2006. Depreciation increased slightly, rising 3.6% to EUR 9.7m. Overall, administrative expenses were up by 13.7% to EUR 135.6m. "Earnings have grown faster than our expenses. This shows that we are not moving away from our strict cost discipline and are constantly boosting efficiency," explained Carls. This is also reflected in the improved cost/income ratio of 60.4% Carls continued, after 68.8% in the previous year.

The comvalue growth programme led to a significant rise in the customer base of around 150,000 to 804,690. The bank has again accelerated its growth in all three fields of competence and achieved its stated growth targets for the end of 2007 ahead of schedule. In brokerage, the bank had 606,110 custody accounts by the year-end, a rise of 55,162. In banking, the number of current accounts rose by 104,376 to 260,334. Furthermore, in the few weeks since the high interest Tagesgeld PLUS was launched in November 2006, 66,840 of the call money accounts had been opened by the end of the year. In advice, the bank's subsidiary comdirect private finance serviced 20,024 customers through its 19 offices, more than double the number than in the previous year (8,240). In addition, the advisory subsidiary has achieved breakeven in line with the target set when it was founded in 2003.

"After only two years of comvalue, comdirect has become a significantly bigger, better and at the same time more profitable bank," summed up Carls, adding: "We remain on course for further growth in the coming years." In addition to the current account, new customer acquisition will centre on the new Tagesgeld PLUS account. By the end of 2009, comdirect bank aims to have 650,000 Tagesgeld PLUS accounts and 450,000 current accounts. The number of custody accounts is set to increase to around 650,000 and the number of advisory customers to 40,000. In total, the number of customers will rise to over 1.3 million. To achieve this, comdirect will additionally spend up to EUR 150m on growth in the next three years. In 2007, more than EUR 30m of this will be invested in marketing, sales, new products and IT. For 2010, the pre-tax profit target is considerably in excess of EUR 100m.

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