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MLP Executive Board proposes dividend of 28 cents per share

  • Distribution ratio rises significantly to nearly 100 percent
  • Earnings burdened by one-off effects – total revenues in 2008 only slightly below the record figure of the previous year
  • Private clients business: Focus on the core market Germany
  • Expansion of the Holding Executive Board
Wiesloch, 16th February 2009 - The Executive Board of the independent financial services and wealth management consulting company MLP is proposing a significant increase in its distribution ratio. Subject to approval by the Supervisory Board and the Annual General Meeting, MLP intends to distribute almost its entire net profit from continuing operations. This equates to a dividend of 28 cents per share (previous year: 50 cents); the payout amounts to around EUR 30.2 million (EUR 49 million). As already communicated last year - and subject to final confirmation by the tax authorities - the dividend is tax-free. “In this very challenging environment caused by the financial crisis, and one in which many companies are significantly reducing their distribution ratios, the dividend proposal highlights our financial strength and our confidence in the further development of the company,” comments MLP AG Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Uwe Schroeder-Wildberg.

In view of the financial crisis, private and institutional clients exercised restraint also during the fourth quarter. Furthermore, falling prices on the capital markets led to a decline in on-going remuneration in wealth management. Despite these very difficult framework conditions MLP generated total revenues of EUR 597.7 million in 2008 (2007: EUR 629.8 million), thus almost equalling the record figure achieved in the previous year. Furthermore, profit before interest and taxes (EBIT) was burdened by several one-off effects and consequently fell to EUR 56.6 million (EUR 113.9 million). Net profit from continuing operations decreased accordingly, declining from EUR 77.5 million to EUR 31.1 million. Liquid funds rose significantly to EUR 210.1 million (EUR 155.8 million).

In the fourth quarter, total revenues amounted to EUR 189.8 million (Q4 2007: EUR 224.3 million). EBIT fell to EUR 17.1 million (EUR 56.6 million) and net profit declined to EUR 11.9 million (EUR 38.0 million).

Profit-reducing items included the changeover to the requirements of the new Insurance Contract Law, for which MLP incurred one-off costs of around EUR 6 million, as well as a writedown on a rented office building amounting to EUR 2.5 million. A further EUR 3.8 million was allocated to a tax accrual. In addition, the previous year included a one-off effect totalling EUR 4.0 million resulting from the sale of the funds database business of the subsidiary Feri.

Earnings were also negatively affected by a loss of around EUR 3.4 million at the consulting company TPC, which MLP acquired in February 2008 to supplement its occupational pensions business. Here, corporate clients deferred larger projects in view of the uncertain economic climate.

Private clients business: Focus on the core market Germany

In the course of strategic focussing, MLP will, in future, concentrate its private client activities on its core market Germany. In this respect, MLP is seeking a new ownership structure for its units in Austria and the Netherlands that contributed less than two percent to total revenues in the previous year. From now on, MLP will be showing the company in Austria as a discontinued operation. In the financial year 2008, the after-tax loss in the discontinued operations totalled EUR 6.3 million. The resulting consolidated net profit of MLP Group amounted to EUR 24.8 million (EUR 62.1 million).

On the other hand, the Group is expanding its activities at the subsidiary Feri into the continental Europe region - opening offices in Vienna and Milan in 2008 and further developing its operation in Luxembourg.

Ralf Schmid - new COO of MLP AG

With effect from 1 March 2009 MLP is expanding its Holding Executive Board by creating the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) and fulfilling a further organisational requirement in order to actively participate in the industry consolidation. For this purpose, the Supervisory Board has today appointed Ralf Schmid as a new member of the Board until 1 December 2012. Schmid holds a degree in business studies and has worked for MLP since 1991. He was appointed to the Management Board of MLP Finanzdienstleistungen AG in 1999 where he also carries responsibility for the operations department. “Today, a well-aligned organisation, comprehensive infrastructure and effective processes constitute crucial success factors in our market,” explains Uwe Schroeder-Wildberg. “The appointment of Ralf Schmid to this new position will enable us to further extend our lead in these fields.”

MLP will be publishing detailed information concerning its business development during the fourth quarter and the full year 2008 as scheduled on 18 February 2009.