“School's out for summer, School's out forever, School's been blown to pieces. No more pencils, No more books, No more teacher's dirty looks…” are some of the lyrics of Alice cooper’s famous 1972 song ‘School’s out (for summer)’ and was probably in the thoughts (or even sung out loud) by a lot of students before leaving for summer vacation. However, ‘school’s not out for summer’ for Ageas, as at the beginning of last week it launched two important announcements, one on the fact that BNP Paribas Fortis decided not to exercise the option it had on a 25% + 1 share stake in AG Insurance and a 2nd that it had received the approval of the Belgian National Bank to organise and operate reinsurance activities. As news on the non-exercise of the put option was largely expected by the market, the Ageas share on the day of the announcement reacted broadly in line with the overall SXIP 600 European Insurance index, which was down +/- 1%.
Last Tuesday however, Credit Suisse downgraded the Ageas share to Underperform on the back of valuation reasons. Based on this news, the share decreased by 2.5%. However, it is worth noting that since the start of the year and up until the end of June the Ageas share had clearly outperformed the market and was actually one of the best performers in the SXIP 600 European Insurance Index with shares up +6% vs as at the end of June. SXP 600 Insurance Index -5 % vs. Eurostoxx 50 -3%.
Last Thursday, Ageas was also put on ‘CreditWatch Positive’ by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) rating agency on approval of the National Bank of Belgium to operate reinsurance activities.
In a volatile trading week, with concerns about a potential trade war between US & EU/China again dominating market sentiment and China accusing the US of “launching the largest trade war in economic history to date”, the Ageas share decreased to EUR 41.84 (-3.2%) with the SXIP 600 Insurance Index slightly up (+0.5%).
Today, Ageas enters a closed period in preparation for the upcoming 6M 2018 results to be released on Wednesday August 8th. As tradition dictates, next week Scandinavian insurers will kick off Q2 18 European insurance reporting season.
But before that, and certainly a day to highlight, this Friday 13 July 2018, after closing of the stock exchange, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal will announce its decision on the amended Fortis settlement proposal Ageas entered into with the claimant organisations to offer former Fortis shareholders a fair compensation in relation to the events of 2007-2008, and as such, to hopefully settle the Fortis past once and for all.