Western Financial Group Reports Year-End 2009 Results
High River, Alberta – March 15, 2010, (TSX – WES) - Western Financial Group (“the Company”) announced today its operating and financial results for the year ended December 31, 2009.
“We are pleased to report a solid result in a year of challenge,” said Scott Tannas, President and CEO. “We achieved the majority of the 2009 objectives we published at the beginning of the year, including Net Income at the high side of the range. Our Network experienced a very strong quarter, with margins in line with target expectations, and contingent profit sharing revenue higher than expected. Western Life finished the year on target for loss ratio and well ahead of budget on net income. SecuriCan and HED contributed significantly to profit in Q4, their first quarter under our ownership. We remain focused on steering Bank West toward sustainable profitability. Their credit portfolio performance in the final quarter robbed them of a modest Q3 year to date profit, however our leading indicators of credit quality show that we have turned the corner. As we begin 2010, we believe we are well positioned to grow revenue and profit across all business units, and our 2010 Objectives reflect this view.”
Our margins for 2009 are at 29%, same store sales are at 4.2%, and same store customer count growth grew by 1.1% on an annualized basis.
The Bank’s loan book increased slightly over the quarter and ended the year at $360.5 million. Specific loan loss reserves were bolstered significantly in the fourth quarter, bringing the yearly amount to 75 bps.
Western Life’s industry leading growth continued with premium sales up by 20% year over year, the result of substantial cross sales within the Western Financial Group family.
Strategic Partnership Portfolio
The Company’s partnerships in investment banking, insurance distribution and manufacturing provided positive income for the quarter, with all units delivering annual results in line with our budget expectations.
Western Financial Group will host a conference call to discuss the Company's year end financial results on Wednesday , March 17, 2010 at 9:00 am Mountain time (11:00 am Eastern time). To participate in the live conference call, please dial either (647) 427-7450 or (888) 231-8191. A replay of the call will be available from March 17th at 12:00 pm MT until March 31st at 11:59 PM MT. To access the replay please dial either dial (800) 642-1687 or (416) 849-0833 (Toronto) and enter pass code 55472511. The conference will also be broadcast live over the internet and archived through the Company's website at www.westernfinancialgroup.ca.
Western Financial Group is a leader in providing insurance, financial services and banking services in over 90 communities, to more than 500,000 individuals and businesses in Western Canada through its wholly owned network of offices, its affiliated insurance brokers, Western Life Assurance Company, Bank West and SecuriCan General Insurance Company.
The Company’s Financial Report for the year end of 2009 will be filed on SEDAR on or before March 16, 2010.
Forward looking statements involve numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties, including the risk that prediction and other forward looking statements may not prove to be accurate. We caution the reader not to place undue reliance on these disclosures, as a number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the estimates and comments expressed in them. Such factors may include, but are not limited to: changing financial and economic conditions in Canada, particularly in Western Canada; regulatory developments; competition industry trends and availability of capital resources; and our anticipated success in managing our risks. We caution readers that the foregoing list is not exhaustive. Except required by law, we do not undertake to update any forward looking statements, written or oral, that we may make from time to time regarding our operations and performance.
For further information, please contact:
Arlene Beggs, Executive Assistant to the CEO
Western Financial Group