Coface Revenues Top $1.443 Billion

February 27, 2006

The French international business-to-business trade facilitator and insurer, Compagnie Francaise d’Assurance pour le Commerce Exterieur SA (Coface), announced that it’s consolidated revenues for 2005 increased by 7.7 percent to1.218 billion ($1.443 billion). Net profits increased by 37 percent to €117 million ($138.6 million) from €85 million ($100.7 million) in 2004.

The earnings bulletin also noted that Coface “loss ratio was maintained at a very healthy level with the claims to premiums ratio amounting to 49 percent, compared with 46 percent in 2004. At the balance sheet level, certain changes to provisions and calculation methods have been introduced to better account for the risk of a radical deterioration in the economic climate. If these changes were excluded, the claims to premiums ratio would be 47 percent.”

The bulletin also noted the following concerning the economic outlook for 2006:
— Macroeconomic forecasts remain cautiously optimistic, with world growth rising slightly to an estimated 3.5 percent. Euro zone Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of around 1.9 percent should be slightly stronger than in recent times with continued dynamism in German exports and French domestic consumption.
— The accelerated pace of revenue growth observed during the second half of 2005 should continue in 2006, driven by further deployment of our offer on our four business lines, with special emphasis on insurance and factoring (both to launch in seven countries), and improving business intelligence sales in France via the unique Coface Services offer.
— In terms of credit risk, Coface is counting on a business default level generally equivalent to that of 2005. This favorable environment combined with competitive pressure, particularly in self-insurance, leads to the expectation of a slight increase in loss ratio expressed in the percentage of premiums.

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