A word from the CEO
2015, RENEWED COMMERCIAL OFFERING
It is with pride that I took up my role as CEO of Coface in February 2016. Indeed, Coface is a globally renowned brand, as are its savoir-faire, experience and the expertise of its teams. The Group also has another major asset: a geographic reach that is unrivalled in the credit insurance industry.
After a much needed period during which the business was refocused on credit insurance, and our processes organised and improved, we have important challenges ahead in the years to come.
I have three priorities. The first is to continue to carefully manage our risks and to help our customers in adjusting their risk portfolio in the face of a constantly evolving economic environment. The second is to improve our operational efficiency, notably by adjusting our cost structure. Finally, my third priority is to open up a new chapter of dynamic sales growth for our Group, and to identify the resources necessary to achieve this. A new strategic plan will define our lines of action and the means we must put in place to achieve our objectives, while clarifying our vision of tomorrow’s Coface for our clients, partners and shareholders. The plan should enable our employees to adhere to, engage in, and support our action.
We have to be even more efficient in guiding our clients through a challenging macroeconomic climate.
2015 was marked by a deterioration of the global economic environment, and was therefore difficult for businesses. Companies, because they lacked confidence, were less dynamic and tended to accumulate cash rather than embark on new projects. Our turnover, largely dependent on that of our clients, who are companies, nonetheless increased by 3.4% at current scope and exchange rates (1.2% at constant scope and exchange rates). This growth was buoyed by our activity in emerging countries and we were able to post net income of €126 million, slightly higher than the level we recorded in 2014. Given the difficult economic environment, our net loss ratio mechanically rose, though in a relatively contained way (form 50.4% to 52.5%) due to our efficient risk management.
Among the highlights of 2015 was our continued work to perfect our product line, with in particular the launch of TradeLiner, an innovative contract particularly suited to companies’ changing needs. We also extended our bonding offering to Germany and France. We now have a product and services range that is structured, modular and tailored to meet the needs of all companies, whatever their size, sector of activity or nationality. In addition, we set up an organisation dedicated to financial institutions to develop relationships with banks and insurance companies in order to commercialise our products. By way of example, I would cite the business partnerships we concluded in 2015 with Axa Insurance Singapore, Dubai Export, Barclays in the UK and Kutxbank in Spain.
The global economic climate in 2016 will no doubt continue to be volatile and challenging, as it was in 2015. We therefore owe it to ourselves to be even more efficient in helping and supporting our clients in these uncertain times. Through our professionalism and our expertise, we will also have to continue to convince companies, and more generally, all the actors of international trade, of the value and utility of our guarantees and services offer.
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