Letter from the Chairman
2021 was a very significant year in Cattolica Assicurazioni’s growth path.
Since last May, the newly formed Board of Directors, which I have the honour of chairing, has been entrusted with the task of guiding the corporate and industrial evolution of one of the most important insurance companies in Italy in terms of history and size. As Directors, we are aware that we have a great past behind us and it is on this solid foundation that we have configured the future of the Company. The strategic governance and control activity of the Board of Directors was therefore developed with the aim of preserving the strengths and distinctive features of Cattolica and its subsidiaries and of increasing their value, by leveraging the professional and human qualities of management, employees, Agents and collaborators. You will see numerous positive examples of this by consulting these Financial Statements.
During the course of the year, the drive to develop governance and the industrial initiatives provided mutual impetus, propelling Cattolica towards an important new dimension. Looking back, the first step of this path was the definition in June 2020 of the strategic partnership agreement signed with Assicurazioni Generali, by virtue
of which Cattolica was transformed into a joint-stock company with effect from April 1st, 2021. The second, decisive step was Assicurazioni Generali’s subsequent Public Tender Offer for all Cattolica’s shares, which took place at a price of € 6.75 per share. In the best interest of all shareholders, the Board of Directors - after having taken note of the Offer and having taken into account the fairness opinions expressed by the financial advisors - deemed the Offer to be congruous from a financial point of view and tendered all the own shares held by Cattolica.
The benefits of the transaction, aimed at creating value, have been highlighted by several parties. For example, as a direct consequence of the result of the PTO, Standard & Poor’s raised Cattolica Assicurazioni’s rating to A- with a positive outlook and raised the rating of its bond issues to BBB, while AM Best assigned it a Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and a Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a+” (Excellent), with a stable outlook. At the same time, the improvement in Cattolica’s solvency margin led us to submit, for the assessment of IVASS, the elimination of the need to proceed with the execution of the second tranche of the share capital increase. Following the successful conclusion of the PTO, Cattolica is now a stronger and more solid company within a leading international insurance Group that is Generali.
In parallel with corporate events, Cattolica and its people have been able to meet customers’ expectations, working arduously and dependably to protect the well-being of the communities in which we operate, while contributing to the achievement of excellent financial performances. In fact, never before, on the margins of a complex crisis such as that triggered by the pandemic and in light of the serious events linked to the war in Ukraine, has it been evident how much economy and society are interconnected and how important it is to operate in a way that reconciles ethics and business. They all deserve my heartfelt thanks.
The path briefly outlined here and the results achieved allow me to declare that, in all respects, we are making Cattolica a stronger company than it was when we found it, in the best interest of shareholders and all stakeholders. In light of this, at the end of the financial year the Board of Directors decided to propose to the Shareholders’ Meeting to return to distributing a dividend to shareholders, for the amount of € 0.15 per share.