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EOS Annual Report 2020/21

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    • Great opportunity for companies: Chatbots have the potential to make employees more satisfied
    • 96 percent of European companies confirm chatbot acceptance by customers
    • Bots and humans will work more closely together in future

    Hamburg, November 24, 2021 – What role can these digital helpers play in customer service? What positive effects argue for the use of this technology? The Chatbot Survey 2021 by financial services provider and investor EOS has taken an in-depth look at the topic and asked 2,800 decision-makers from 14 European countries about the use of chatbots in their companies. The survey found that bots are already playing an important role: 64 percent of the companies polled say that chatbots are increasing the satisfaction levels of their employees. 62 percent see an increase in customer satisfaction as a benefit.

    “That’s even a win-win-win situation, because along with employees and customers, the companies gain as well,” says Wesley van de Walle, who is responsible for the chatbot at Belgian debt collection firm EOS Contentia. “The support provided by the bots should not be underestimated. They ensure round-the-clock accessibility without waiting times and fast handling of routine tasks, so they significantly reduce the workload of our employees. This means that the staff from our service center can devote more time to more complex issues, often involving higher invoice amounts,” says van de Walle.

    EOS Chatbot study 2021: Wesley van de Walle, Project Manager at EOS Contentia
    Wesley van de Walle, Tom Project Manager at EOS Contentia

    Almost all companies confirm acceptance by users

    Overall, the companies surveyed have had very good experiences with chatbots, with 96 percent regarding the acceptance of chatbots by users as high to reasonable. Accordingly, at those companies using chatbots, around a third of digital communication with customers is effected via this channel. In almost one out of two companies, the bots are already handling sub-tasks autonomously before there is a need for a human agent to step in. Fully automated solutions are being used by one in ten companies.

    EOS Chatbot study 2021: Franjo Glibo, Head of the IT Department at EOS in Croatia
    Franjo Glibo, Head of the IT Department at EOS in Croatia

    “Chatbots are not going to replace people. The human factor is still important, especially in complex situations,” says Franjo Glibo, bot manager and Head of the IT Department at EOS in Croatia. “For example, we are currently planning to implement the most direct possible transfer to our human customer service agents whenever our bot exhausts its capacities, for example when it comes to providing individual solutions or personal payment plans for defaulting payers.”

    For the future, more than half of respondents expect that bots will become more ‘humanized’ and in ten years, for example, will be able to recognize emotions and react accordingly (57 percent). 55 percent also assume that by then, voice bots will have replaced text-based chatbots.

    About the representative EOS Chatbot Survey 2021

    The representative EOS Survey was conducted in 14 European countries in the period April to June 2021. It used phone interviews to survey 200 B2C companies in each country. A total of 2,800 decision-makers from Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, France, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Russia answered questions e.g. on the use of chatbots, their acceptance by users, and the potential opportunities for the future. 
     

    About EOS Group

    The EOS Group is one of the leading technology-driven financial investors and an expert in the processing of outstanding receivables. The company's core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. With over 45 years of experience, EOS offers some 20,000 customers in 26 countries around the world smart services for all their receivables management needs. Its focus is on banks and companies from the real estate, telecommunications, energy supply and e-commerce sectors. EOS employs more than 6,800 people and is part of the Otto Group.

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    • Two out of three European companies in the B2C segment use chatbots in their communication with customers
    • Almost one in two customer inquiries are already being resolved completely by the bot
    • The pressure is mounting: 61 percent are convinced that in the long term, every large company will need to offer a chatbot

    Hamburg, November 17, 2021 – During the pandemic, enabling fast and direct contact to customer service was a challenge due to short-time working or lack of human resources. As a result, chatbots gained in importance yet again, as a recent survey in 14 European countries by financial services provider and investor EOS shows. According to the survey, chatbots are already being used in two out of three companies in the B2C segment. The survey also revealed that chatbots account for 30 percent of digital communication with customers, and that almost every second inquiry addressed to a chatbot is fully resolved by it. EOS is also using these digital helpers. Chatbots are already in use and communicating with defaulting payers at the company’s national subsidiaries in Croatia, France and Belgium.

    “Since the rollout of our chatbot Tom, the number of calls to the service center has gone down,” says Wesley van de Walle, project manager at EOS Contentia in Belgium. “On average, Tom has more than 300 conversations a month with defaulting payers on simple matters. Since its last software update, the bot has also been connected directly to our debt collection system and can now process personal data. Following an authentication process, users can request information on their level of debt, due date of the next payment, or costs incurred. It offers genuine added value,” says van de Walle.

    EOS Chatbot study 2021: Wesley van de Walle, Project Manager at EOS Contentia
    Wesley van de Walle, Tom Project Manager at EOS Contentia

    Chatbots especially popular in Poland and Switzerland

    The survey found differences among European countries in the use of the technology: Whereas in Poland and Switzerland chatbots are highly popular, with usage rates of more than 70 percent, companies in France (54 percent) and Russia (46 percent) are still somewhat more reticent when it comes to chatbots. At present, the digital helpers are being used mainly for the initial contact (97 percent), followed by customer service (51 percent) and product advice (39 percent).

    EOS Chatbot study 2021: Franjo Glibo, Head of the IT Department at EOS in Croatia
    Franjo Glibo, Head of the IT Department at EOS in Croatia

    What challenges are still holding chatbots back

    The companies polled identified data privacy constraints (70 percent), followed by the necessary revision of their data structures (59 percent), as the greatest impediments to the use of chatbots. Investment costs, on the other hand, were rarely an obstacle: Only 27 percent of the companies regarded the costs of introducing a chatbot as ‘high’, and only three percent decided not to use the technology for cost reasons.

    “It goes without saying that EOS meets the stringent data privacy requirements. In our line of work with sensitive data, the challenge is rather to do with finding a balance between ease of use and the necessary security,” says Franjo Glibo, bot manager and Head of the IT Department at EOS in Croatia. “Companies should communicate openly and show what consumers can gain from disclosing their details. At EOS, for example, the data can be used to provide the best possible, individualized receivables management, with benefits for the defaulting payers as well.”

    Increasingly smart chatbots: a technology with a future

    The EOS Chatbot Survey 2021 found that at present, companies are mainly using bots with mid-range intelligence (57 percent) to preselect topics and handle sub-tasks. And it’s not just EOS experts who think that this intelligence level needs to continue to improve in the next few years; 88 percent of survey respondents are planning to further develop their company’s bots. Respondents from all countries agree that the importance of chatbots, and their acceptance by customers, will continue to increase in the next two years. 61 percent of respondents are also convinced that in the medium term, every large company should be offering a chatbot.

    About the representative EOS Chatbot Survey 2021

    The representative EOS Survey was conducted in 14 European countries in the period April to June 2021. It used phone interviews to survey 200 B2C companies in each country. A total of 2,800 decision-makers from Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, France, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Russia answered questions e.g. on the use of chatbots, their acceptance by users, and the potential opportunities for the future. 
     

    About EOS Group

    The EOS Group is one of the leading technology-driven financial investors and an expert in the processing of outstanding receivables. The company's core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. With over 45 years of experience, EOS offers some 20,000 customers in 26 countries around the world smart services for all their receivables management needs. Its focus is on banks and companies from the real estate, telecommunications, energy supply and e-commerce sectors. EOS employs more than 6,800 people and is part of the Otto Group.

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  • The EOS Group's sales in the financial year 2020/21 are distributed among the individual regions as follows: 36.5 % at € 289.1 million is attributable to Germany, 31.5 % at € 249.7 million to Eastern Europe, 26.1 % at € 207.1 million to Western Europe and 5.9 % at € 46.6 million to North America. Eastern Europe accounts for 31.5 %, Western Europe for 26.1 % at € 207.1 million, and North America for 5.9 % at € 46.6 million.
    • EOS clearly profitable despite slight decline in revenue and earnings
    • High level of investment in secured and unsecured receivables accompanied by targeted cost-cutting measures
    • Corporate responsibility to be firmly embedded in business model

    Hamburg, August 11, 2021 – Despite all the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hamburg-based EOS Group successfully concluded its 2020/21 financial year (ending on 28 February). With a slight decline in revenue of 7.1 percent to EUR 792.5 million, the financial investor and technology-driven debt collection service provider reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of EUR 312.4 million (previous year: EUR 343.4 million). Apart from the restrictions on collection activity due to statutory moratoriums in several countries, the financial year was marked by a decline in the volume of non-performing loans (NPLs) on offer on the receivables market. Nevertheless, EOS was once again able to invest a significant sum (EUR 534.3 million) in secured and unsecured receivables and real estate in need of restructuring.

    “In view of the difficult conditions of the last year, the positive operating result was by no means a given,” says Klaus Engberding, CEO of the EOS Group. “We needed to continually assess the wider implications of the pandemic, make the right investment decisions and adjust our costs accordingly. I am therefore extremely proud of the fantastic achievement of our teams who faced up to these challenges and made this success possible through their dedicated collaboration.”

    Klaus Engberding, CEO of the EOS Group

    Social responsibility to become integral part of business model

    The ongoing development of the organization and heavy investment in IT to improve business operations were the key drivers behind the sustained stability of EOS. The values-driven yet forward-looking approach of EOS, which is part of the Otto Group, also contributed to its success. With a new corporate responsibility (CR) strategy, the EOS Group aims to firmly embed four key actionable areas into its business model in future. In this context, the focus is on solution-driven and sustainable debt relief for defaulting consumers, proactive funding initiatives and (financial) education measures, climate-neutral operation by 2030, and the championing of strict and binding industry standards in all 26 countries where the company is located. 

    “As one of the leaders in our industry we are absolutely aware of our responsibility towards society. Through our actions, we do not just want to help the economic system to function by improving the financial situation of our clients and of defaulting payers; we also aim to use our new CR strategy to do our part to change the world we operate in for the better overall,” says Engberding.

    Overview of key figures:
      2020/21 2019/20
    Sales revenue (in EUR million) 792.5 853.1
    of which     
    Germany 289.1 303.3
    Eastern Europe 249.7 266.7
    Western Europe 207.1 232.0
    North America 46.6 51.0
    EBITDA (in EUR million) 312.4 343.4

    Different figures may appear in tables due to rounding.

    Andreas Kropp, member of the EOS Group's Board of Directors with responsibility for the German market

    Germany remains the most important EOS market

    With a turnover of EUR 289.1 million and a 36.5 percent share of consolidated revenue, Germany continues to be the region with the highest revenue within EOS Consolidated. At EUR 168.2 million, the investment level in receivables and real estate was stable. “Our success is primarily due to our operational excellence and understanding of our customers’ needs, which makes us a strong and reliable partner in the debt purchasing and fiduciary collection business,” says Andreas Kropp, member of the EOS Group's Board of Directors with responsibility for the German market. “Even in this challenging year, we continued to systematically pursue the digitalization of the company and in doing so have given a substantial boost to our future viability.”

    As a longstanding member of the German Association of Debt Collection Companies (BDIU), EOS has continued its commitment to high ethical standards in the industry. In the last financial year it also established an in-house ‘hardship case community’, where specially trained personnel find solutions for cases of debt affecting people in permanently dire financial straits. Moreover, the company is committed to financial education for children and young people through its finlit foundation, whose ‘ManoMoneta’ initiative has already reached more than 100 schools.

    Eastern Europe once again the highest earning region in the EOS Group

    Despite a decline in revenue to EUR 249.7 million, Eastern Europe is still the highest earning region within EOS Consolidated. EOS has its own subsidiaries in 15 countries in Eastern Europe. A major driver for this result was the substantial year-on-year increase in results in Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Poland. In addition, EOS was able to increase investment in NPLs in the region in the last financial year by around three percent to EUR 195.3 million. The highest NPL investments were made in Croatia, Poland and Russia. 

    Marwin Ramcke, member of the EOS Group’s Board of Directors responsible for the Eastern European region

    “Thanks to our local expertise we made substantial investments in secured and unsecured NPLs again this year and are going to rigorously pursue this strategy again in the current financial year,” says Marwin Ramcke, member of the EOS Group’s Board of Directors responsible for the Eastern European region. “We are also pushing ahead with the digitalization process and are successively rolling out our international collection software ‘Kollecto+’, which we developed in-house, in all Eastern European countries where EOS is represented.

    In addition, an international HR department was established in Hungary. As well as strategic HR issues, it will also manage the Group’s cultural change process outside of Germany.

    Stable business performance in Western Europe

    The continued stable business performance in France, Belgium, Spain and Denmark enabled EOS to report a good result overall for Western Europe. At EUR 207.1 million, the region accounted for more than a quarter (26.1 percent) of the total revenue of EOS Consolidated. Moreover, the EOS companies in France and Belgium were able to reinforce their position as leading providers for debt purchases. In Spain too, EOS increasingly shifted its focus from fiduciary collection to receivables purchasing, and was able to build up a strong market position as a buyer of debt portfolios.

    Dr. Andreas Witzig, member of the EOS Group’s Board of Directors with responsibility for Western Europe

    Accordingly, EOS in Spain closed the year with record investments, e.g. in three NPL portfolios comprising a total 232,000 receivables and with a nominal value of EUR 810 million. “Thanks to our longstanding experience, and despite the lower volume of NPLs on the market, we were once again a preferred partner for our customers,” explains Dr. Andreas Witzig, member of the EOS Group’s Board of Directors with responsibility for Western Europe. “Our companies in the region are in a good position, so we are confident of being able to continue to expand our receivables purchasing activities in the new financial year.”

    Higher sales revenues in North America

    In North America, EOS was able to substantially increase its earnings from receivables purchases, despite a lower revenue overall of EUR 46.6 million. Solid investments in the USA were the key to this result. In Canada too, EOS was able to improve its result on a year-on-year basis in fiscal 2020/21 thanks to strict cost discipline. “The COVID-19 crisis hit the North American market hard, but we were in the position to offset the considerable loss of revenue on the earnings side through massive cost savings,” explains Dr. Andreas Witzig, member of the EOS Group’s Board of Directors with responsibility for North America.

    About EOS Group

    The EOS Group is one of the leading technology-driven financial investors and an expert in the processing of outstanding receivables. The company's core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. With over 45 years of experience, EOS offers some 20,000 customers in 26 countries around the world smart services for all their receivables management needs. Its focus is on banks and companies from the real estate, telecommunications, energy supply and e-commerce sectors. EOS employs more than 6,800 people and is part of the Otto Group.

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  • Hamburg, August 3, 2021 – For the 17th time in a row, Scope Hamburg, formerly Euler Hermes Rating, has given EOS Holding an A rating. Thanks to the company’s high earnings and very stable cash flows, the rating agency once again confirmed the excellent credit standing of EOS. The rating rationale also emphasized the extensive experience of EOS, as a financial services provider and investor, in the valuation, acquisition and recovery of non-performing receivables, its leading market position in Germany and strong market position in Europe.

    EOS weathered the COVID-19 crisis solidly and was able to cement the trust of its business partners. Accordingly, Scope Hamburg rates the company’s financial risk as low and its capital structure, deleveraging potential and interest coverage ratio as good or very good. The rating agency also expects the company’s earnings to grow in the current 2021/22 financial year.

    Sustained investment at a high level

    “The last financial year was particularly challenging. We needed to assess the potential effects of the crisis in good time and make the right investment decisions. By successfully bringing down costs during this period, the decline in earnings stayed within acceptable limits and EOS made a clear profit, even in this crisis year,” explains Justus Hecking-Veltman, Chief Financial Officer of the EOS Group. “For our development going forward, two decisions were important: Firstly, we again invested heavily in receivables packages. And secondly, we systematically pursued the upgrade of our IT systems to enable us to manage the company even better and with the use of more digital tools in future.”

    Investments: CFO Justus Hecking-Veltman on the EOS Group’s outstanding results in financial year 2018/19
    Proud of the distinction: Justus Hecking-Veltman is happy about the renewed A rating for EOS

    EOS has stepped up its activities as a financial investor in recent years and has become established in many countries as a market leader for the purchase of debt packages. In fiscal 2020/21, the company invested EUR 534.3 million in unsecured and secured receivables and real estate in need of restructuring.

    About EOS Group

    The EOS Group is one of the leading technology-driven financial investor and an expert in the processing of outstanding receivables. The company's core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. With over 45 years of experience, EOS offers some 20,000 customers in 26 countries around the world smart services for all their receivables management needs. Its key target sectors are banking, insurance companies, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS employs more than 7,500 people and is part of the Otto Group.

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    • Only 33 percent of Europeans trust companies to handle their digital data properly; in the USA as few as one in four consumers
    • Banks and online payment providers enjoy the greatest degree of trust, while telecommunications companies, online retailers, social networks and messaging services rank lower on the trust scale

    Hamburg, October 27, 2020 – The responsible handling of the valuable commodity “digital data” has become more important than ever. Because data like this helps companies to better understand their customers and their preferences and to respond to market trends. However, the willingness of consumers to disclose their data is crucially dependent on trust. In this respect, companies have not fared particularly well until now, with only 33 percent of Europeans trusting companies to handle their digital data. US citizens are even more distrustful (23 percent), while Russians are somewhat less skeptical (41 percent). These are some of the findings from a recent representative survey entitled “What’s the value of data?” conducted by financial services provider and investor EOS in 17 countries. The reasons for this skepticism result in part from bad experiences with disclosing data. Every fourth or fifth consumer has at some point had a negative experience online in this regard.

    Significant differences in level of trust depending on sector and type of data

    There are clear differences between sectors: Banks and financial services providers enjoy the greatest level of trust for their handling of customer data (Europe: 54 percent, USA: 56 percent, Russia: 54 percent), although not unconditionally across all countries. Energy utilities and insurance companies also come off relatively well (average value across all countries 39 percent). However, there is a lack of trust when it comes to telecommunications companies (28 percent on average), online retailers (21 percent on average) and social networks and messaging services (14 percent on average). That people still provide their data to the latter (contact information, movement data, purchasing and surfing behavior) can be explained by the fact that users regard this data as less sensitive. Universally, financial details are regarded as being the most worthy of protection.

    EOS data survey: What’s the value of data?

    Data minimization and service quality create trust

    Financial service providers in particular can therefore benefit from the higher level of trust they enjoy when it comes to the use of data. However, they need to create a balance between optimizing processes through as much data as possible and avoiding unnecessary requests for data. This is a challenge that EOS is facing as well. The debt collection service provider, which commissioned the survey, employs around 60 people worldwide in the data privacy and information security fields. “To build trust among our customers and consumers, we emphasize data minimization at EOS even when initially setting up projects. Instead of ‘collecting data for data's sake’, we pursue a data minimization approach and collect data only for specific purposes,” explains Stephan Bovermann, Senior Group Privacy Officer at EOS Group. He works with his colleagues to ensure data privacy in all 26 countries where EOS operates worldwide. From his perspective, however, handling data responsibly is just one way of establishing trust. “Naturally, high quality products and an excellent level of service are just as important for creating trust in a company as its careful handling of the data entrusted to it,” says Bovermann.

    Stephan Bovermann, Senior Group Privacy Officer EOS Group
    EOS data survey: What’s the value of data?
    Esther van Oirsouw, Head of Portals Integration EOS Technology Solutions

    Data minimization through self-service digital portals

    One example of the data minimization approach are the EOS service portals which defaulting payers can use to settle their outstanding debts. These portals only collect the data that is necessary for the payment process. This creates trust, says Esther van Oirsouw, Head of Portals & Integration at EOS Technology Solutions: “Our online portals allow defaulting payers simple and self-determined access to their outstanding debt. After entering the individual case number, they can complete payment with just a few clicks. And for the majority of payment methods offered, no personal data has to be provided. This makes the obstacles to payment extremely low, because we know from experience that the more self-determination and flexibility we create, the better the payment rate and the higher the trust in us.”

    Action needed across all national borders

    As the survey shows, gaining and building trust is still a major work in progress for many companies. In all countries, mistrust and skepticism on the part of consumers is on a similar scale. But one thing that is clear is that the digital environment is a leveler. If you want to be part of the digital universe you will meet the same global players and be subject to their rules in all countries. Many respondents felt that they often didn’t have a choice when it came to disclosing their data. Around two-thirds of Europeans (66 percent) and Americans (58 percent) and four out of five Russian consumers complain that they are not even able to use all the features of a lot of online services without disclosing their data. In addition, around 60 percent do not have enough information about how to prevent or limit the disclosure of their data.

    About the representative EOS survey “What's the value of data?” 2020

    The EOS survey, which was conducted in partnership with market research institute Kantar in the spring of 2020, is representative of the (online) population over the age of 18 in the 17 countries polled. A random sample of 1,000 respondents from each of the countries Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the USA, and 300 respondents from North Macedonia, was used for the analysis. The survey participants answered questions on their personal handling and disclosure of data, their trust in companies and their willingness to sell data for compensation.

    You can find more information on the survey here.

    About EOS Group

    The EOS Group is one of the leading technology-driven financial investors and an expert in the processing of outstanding receivables. The company's core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. With over 40 years of experience, EOS offers some 20,000 customers in 26 countries around the world smart services for all their receivables management needs. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS employs more than 7,500 people and is part of the Otto Group.

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    • Great opportunity for companies: More than a third of consumers in favor of “compensation for data”
    • Majority willing to sell at least one item of personal information to a trustworthy company
    • Willingness to disclose data even exceeds demand in some cases

    Hamburg, October 5, 2020 – In today's digital environment, data like bank account number, date of birth, address, health details or purchasing preferences have become a key economic asset. This is why the handling of data and its value, and the reasons why companies are keen to make use of it, are increasingly a topic of public debate. This has also been validated by a recent representative survey entitled “What’s the value of data?” conducted in 17 countries by financial services provider and investor EOS. The survey revealed that more than 60 percent of consumers in Europe and the USA and as many as 70 percent in Russia believe that companies should compensate customers for the use of their data. More than a third of respondents, and in Russia as many as half, said they were willing to provide certain data in return for compensation.

    Trust and financial rewards the drivers for increased disclosure of data

    For people to be prepared to disclose personal data, it is crucial for them to trust a company or organization to handle their data responsibly and adhere to the relevant statutory regulations. The EOS survey showed that a clear majority of consumers would sell at least one item of personal data for money to a trustworthy company (Europe: 82 percent, USA: 75 percent, Russia: 90 percent). People are least concerned about disclosing purchasing decisions and preferences for products and brands, but consider account or credit card details, or insights into their bank account, to be especially worthy of protection. When asked about their specific compensation preferences, more than half of the respondents found material rewards and discounts particularly attractive, whereas in all regions there was less demand for services as compensation, with only around 20% in favor of this option.

    EOS data survey: What’s the value of data?

    Data analysis as the basis for modern receivables management

    A look at receivables management shows that it is worthwhile for companies to provide incentives to consumers to disclose their data. Because the better the data available about the purchaser of a product or service, the quicker they can be reached in the event of a payment default. And, the more empirical data from similar receivables cases is already available, the better the proposed installment plan will match the customer’s financial situation and the more likely the customer will comply with it as a result. This is why its Center of Analytics plays a key role at receivables management service provider EOS. With the help of machine learning algorithms, its central platform analyses thousands of debt collection cases to determine the best processing steps to be taken next.

    Willingness to disclose data even exceeds demand in some cases

    The EOS survey revealed that one in five consumers had already been offered compensation to disclose certain details. In Europe this was most common in Spain and Romania, where as many as one in four consumers had received such an offer. In some cases, however, the willingness of consumers to disclose data actually exceeds the number of offers of compensation by companies. “I think there are still significant opportunities and unexploited potential here,” stresses Joachim Göller.

    “Already, installment plans are produced on the basis of intelligent data analysis in a lot of the countries where EOS operates,” explains Joachim Göller, Head of the Center of Analytics. “It is in the interest of all parties to conclude a collection case as soon as possible to save costs on both sides. And this is where data can help. The sooner the contact is established and the better the chances of the payment agreement being met, the more likely it is for the creditor to get their money and the consumer to become debt-free. So it can absolutely be in the interests of the defaulting payer to disclose data.”

    “Already, installment plans are produced on the basis of intelligent data analysis in a lot of the countries where EOS operates,” explains Joachim Göller, Head of the Center of Analytics. “It is in the interest of all parties to conclude a collection case as soon as possible to save costs on both sides. And this is where data can help. The sooner the contact is established and the better the chances of the payment agreement being met, the more likely it is for the creditor to get their money and the consumer to become debt-free. So it can absolutely be in the interests of the defaulting payer to disclose data.”

    Joachim Göller, Head of the Center of Analytics at EOS, sees great potential in data analysis.
    Joachim Göller, Head of the Center of Analytics
    EOS data survey: What’s the value of data?

    About the representative EOS survey “What's the value of data?” 2020

    The EOS survey, which was conducted in partnership with market research institute Kantar in the spring of 2020, is representative of the (online) population over the age of 18 in the 17 countries polled. A random sample of 1,000 respondents from each of the countries Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the USA, and 300 respondents from North Macedonia, was used for the analysis. The survey participants answered questions on their personal handling and disclosure of data, their trust in companies, and their willingness to sell data for compensation.

    You can find more information on the survey here.

    About EOS Group

    The EOS Group is one of the leading technology-driven financial investors and an expert in the processing of outstanding receivables. The company's core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. With over 40 years of experience, EOS offers some 20,000 customers in 26 countries around the world smart services for all their receivables management needs. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS employs more than 7,500 people and is part of the Otto Group.

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  • Berlin, September 18, 2020 – The EOS Group will provide the President of the German Association of Debt Collection Companies (BDIU) for another four years. Kirsten Pedd, Chief Compliance Officer and Head of Public Affairs for the international financial services provider, was unanimously confirmed in office yesterday by the association's members. Pedd, who has been representing EOS in the BDIU for almost 20 years, was the first woman appointed to lead the association in 2016.

    “I am very pleased that the members of the BDIU have given me their vote of confidence by re-electing me,” says Pedd. “I am especially proud that we were able to adopt our Code of Conduct, which shows that responsibility and fairness are not just empty words for us but a real commitment.”

    The Code of Conduct unanimously adopted at the AGM covers the entire life cycle of a receivable, from acceptance of the collection order and communication with defaulting payers to other obligations related to the processing of payments and the handling of complaints and queries. Kirsten Pedd was the driving force behind its development.

    Profile of Kirsten Pedd, Chief Compliance Officer and Head of Public Affairs
    Kirsten Pedd, Chief Compliance Officer & Head of Public Affairs, EOS Group

    About EOS Group

    The EOS Group is one of the leading technology-driven financial investors and an expert in the processing of outstanding receivables. The company's core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. With over 40 years of experience, EOS offers some 20,000 customers in 26 countries around the world smart services for all their receivables management needs. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS employs more than 7,500 people and is part of the Otto Group.

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    • Increase in revenue due to strong business performance in Eastern Europe
    • Again, a high level of investment in secured and unsecured receivables
    • Strong push towards digitalization

    Hamburg, Germany, July 15, 2020 – By consistently following its strategic direction as a technology-driven debt collection provider and financial investor, the EOS Group headquartered in Hamburg has again increased its revenue in the 2019/20 financial year. With a 4.8% increase in revenue to EUR 853.1 million, the previous year recorded very positive results. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) grew to EUR 343.4 million.

    Regional strengths, push for digitalization and high level of investment key success factors

    The international provider of tailored financial services, which is part of the Otto Group, can largely attribute its increase in earnings to a substantial 31.3% increase in revenue in Eastern Europe. Other important success factors include the strong push towards digitalization and the cultural development of the EOS Group combined with the consistently high level of investment of EUR 651.3 million in secured and unsecured receivables and real estate.

    “I feel very proud as I look back at the last financial year. It is the most successful year in the history of the EOS Group,” says Klaus Engberding, CEO of the EOS Group. “Above all, I would like to single out the tremendous progress we have made in digitalization, with EUR 25 million invested in expanding our core IT systems, and the focus on our cultural transformation process. The use of artificial intelligence and advanced data analyses will help boost innovation in our industry. And in uncertain times like in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, in particular, reliable processes, highly professional receivables management and sustainable financing are more important than ever for companies. We can offer all of this to our customers and we expect successful growth for our business in the coming year too.”

    Distribution of consolidated revenue of EOS Group in fiscal 2019/20 among global partner companies
    Revenue of the EOS Group in the various regions for fiscal 2019/20

    Germany remains most important EOS market

    Germany is again the strongest performing region in the EOS Group, with a 35.6% share of the consolidated revenue. The decline compared to the previous year to EUR 303.3 million resulted primarily from the sale of EOS Health Honorarmanagement AG. Even though fewer significant debt packages were offered on the highly competitive German market, EOS won crucial revolving portfolios and confirmed its leading position on account of its many years of experience and good reputation. Totaling EUR 236.0 million, the level of investment exceeded that of the previous year – particularly in the area of unsecured receivables.

    “The success in Germany is primarily due to our operational excellence and intense sales activities in close proximity to our customers. Together with numerous digitalization initiatives and our outstanding reputation – also with respect to data protection – this makes us a reliable and attractive partner for our customers,” says Andreas Kropp, Member of the EOS Group’s Board of Directors and responsible for the German market. “To secure this position and our future viability, we are focusing our investments on our most important areas: employees, culture and technology.”

    More information on the EOS financial year 2019/20 in Germany.

    Substantial revenue increase in Eastern Europe leads to record high

    With a EUR 63.6 million increase in revenue compared with the previous year to EUR 266.7 million in the region of Eastern Europe, EOS is thrilled to achieve a record high. This can be largely attributed to much higher revenues from receivables purchases, especially in Russia and Poland, but Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria also made significant gains in revenue. Other major drivers included the development of collection software “Kollecto +” and the resulting increased efficiency in the processing of receivables. In the last financial year, EOS in Eastern Europe also carried out significant transactions in non-performing loans (NPL). The highest NPL investments were made in Poland, Croatia, Russia and Hungary. In addition, with an NPL portfolio comprising EUR 350 million, Bulgaria made the largest secured debt purchase on the Bulgarian market to date.

    “Our strong local expertise, our approach to dealing fairly with defaulting payers and our cooperation with customers, often across borders, are all paying off,” explains Marwin Ramcke, Member of the EOS Group’s Board of Directors and responsible for Eastern Europe. “As a result, we gained important momentum in secured and unsecured debt collection and could share knowledge and expertise within the Group. We also made substantial investments in secured debt portfolios in Slovenia and Serbia, and are now in a position to process secured and unsecured receivables in all the Eastern European countries in the best possible way,” says Ramcke.

    More information on the EOS financial year 2019/20 in Eastern Europe.

    Stable business performance in Western Europe

    In Western Europe, the very pleasing operational business performance in Belgium, France and Austria resulted in a 5% overall increase in revenue, exceeding the previous year’s result. Therefore, the regional EOS companies again held their ground as the leading provider for debt purchasing. Despite persistently tough market conditions, France stood out and made significantly larger investments in both portfolios secured by real estate and unsecured portfolios. Belgium and Spain also increased their investment activities. The nominal value of a package of 47,000 receivables that EOS Aremas in Belgium purchased from bpost bank, for example, is EUR 36 million.

    “The EOS Group is very well positioned in Western Europe. Thanks to our expertise and many years of experience, especially in banking and telecommunications, we are a preferred strategic partner for our customers,” comments Dr. Andreas Witzig, Member of the EOS Group’s Board of Directors and responsible for the Western European and North American regions. “We are making huge investments in big data and analytics and are helping to resolve problems relating to NPLs. Despite the coronavirus crisis, which has hit France and Spain particularly hard, we remain a reliable partner in the field of fiduciary services and debt purchasing,” confirms Witzig.

    More information on the EOS financial year 2019/20 in Western Europe.

    Growing investments in North America

    With a five percent increase in revenue of EUR 2.6 million, the North American region was slightly above the previous year’s result. In particular, the strategic focus on debt purchasing, in which EOS invested a total of EUR 28.8 million, almost EUR 4 million more than the previous year, paid off in the USA. In Canada, revenue was markedly above the 2018/19 financial year and thus well above target. The focus on fiduciary services, in particular, was developed further.

    “The North American market is a challenging environment for the EOS Group, but Canada is developing very satisfactorily,” comments Dr. Andreas Witzig, Member of the EOS Group’s Board of Directors and responsible for the Western European and North American regions. “We have become one of the market leaders in fiduciary collection there in recent years and have clearly exceeded the expectations for revenue and earnings for 2019/20. Along with our Canadian team, we are very proud of this. In the US, our increased investment in purchase of receivables is showing positive trends. We intend to continue this focus in the current financial year,” adds Witzig.

    About EOS Group

    The EOS Group is one of the leading technology-driven financial investors and an expert in the processing of outstanding receivables. The company's core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. With over 40 years of experience, EOS offers some 20,000 customers in 26 countries around the world smart services for all their receivables management needs. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS employs more than 7,500 people and is part of the Otto Group.

    For more information on EOS Group, please go to www.eos-solutions.com

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  • Euler Hermes Rating, one of Europe’s leading rating agencies, has once again given the credit standing of EOS Holding an A rating. For the 16th time in a row, EOS impressed the auditors with their very high, stable level of earnings and excellent capital structure. The rating assessment emphasized their many years of experience in the valuation, acquisition and recovery of non-performing receivables, their market leadership in Germany and strong position in the European market, in particular.

    This builds confidence: Despite the coronavirus crisis, Euler Hermes rates the financial risk of EOS as low. Although there may be a decline in revenue and earnings in the short to medium term, the auditors again expect a good to very good level of earnings in the long term.

    Sustainable investments on a substantial scale

    In recent years, EOS has systematically stepped up its activities as a financial investor and has established itself as a market leader in the purchase of debt packages in some countries. In the 2019/20 financial year, the company invested EUR 651.3 million in unsecured and secured receivables and real estate.

    "We want to make substantial, sustainable investments in receivables packages in the coming years too," points out Justus Hecking-Veltman, Chief Financial Officer of the EOS Group. "In this context, spreading our risk over several countries is very important. Nevertheless, we do not win every portfolio with our pricing models. In certain markets, we go through phases in which we do not succeed for a long period of time. Nevertheless, we are sticking firmly to the script, because this is what makes us a stable, soundly operating and reliable company, today and in the future."

     

    About EOS Group

    The EOS Group is one of the leading technology-driven financial investors and an expert in the processing of outstanding receivables. The company's core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. With over 40 years of experience, EOS offers some 20,000 customers in 26 countries around the world smart services for all their receivables management needs. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS employs more than 7,500 people and is part of the Otto Group.

    Further related articles and expert opinions on key topics

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    • EOS survey shows: receivables managers fear job losses due to AI
    • For one in three companies, AI is a trending issue that is overrated
    • Lack of trust in artificial intelligence across Europe

    Hamburg, November 5, 2019 – European companies are skeptical of artificial intelligence (AI). This is one of the insights from the representative survey “European Payment Practices” 2019 conducted by research institute Kantar on behalf of financial services provider EOS. It found that almost half of the financial executives polled believe that AI is a threat to jobs. Confidence in self-learning intelligent systems is low: only one in five companies can imagine relying wholly on artificial intelligence in receivables management. The survey polled 3,400 companies in 17 European countries.

    Information the key to countering skepticism about AI

    “As the survey shows, there is widespread skepticism in European companies towards the use of artificial intelligence. The only way to counter this is through awareness-raising, because those who immediately associate AI with the battle between man and machine often lack the necessary background information,” stresses Joachim Göller, Head of EOS Group’s Center of Analytics. Göller and his team are working on AI solutions that support EOS with receivables management. “My experience is that the more our colleagues engage with the topic the more likely it is that their prejudices diminish. Because when you use AI tools in your day-to-day work it quickly becomes apparent that they help you do your own job and are not a threat to it.”

    Western Europeans are somewhat more optimistic about the future

    Trepidation about AI is also reflected in the fact that only 30 percent of the financial executives polled assume that artificial intelligence will be a trending issue in the next two years, while 36 percent consider it “completely overrated”. As the EOS survey shows, Eastern European companies are on the whole more skeptical than their Western European counterparts. For example, only 17 percent of respondents in Eastern Europe can imagine relying completely on AI, compared with 22 percent in Western Europe. Anxiety about job losses is also greater in Eastern Europe, where 49 percent think AI is a threat to jobs, a concern shared by 43 percent in Western Europe. Incidentally, the greatest optimism about AI is found in Denmark, where just under a third of companies (the highest figure in Europe) can imagine relying completely on artificial intelligence in the future.

    Hopes for lower error rates

    Even if the companies from Europe that responded to the survey are overwhelmingly skeptical, some do see the potential offered by AI solutions. For example, a quarter see self-learning systems as a necessary component of receivables management. And 30 percent of financial executives assume that AI will “drastically reduce” error rates.

    In Europe there is a lack of trust in artificial intelligence

    “I can well imagine relying completely on artificial intelligence.”

    19%

    “I can’t wait to work with artificial intelligence in receivables management.”

    18%

    “The use of artificial intelligence in receivables management puts jobs at risk.”

    47%

    “Artificial intelligence will be a trending issue in receivables management in the next two years.”

    30%

    “Artificial intelligence is just a buzzword and is completely overrated.”

    36%


    Please find further information in our EOS newsroom.

    About the EOS Survey “European Payment Practices” 2019

    In partnership with independent market research institute Kantar, EOS conducted phone interviews with 3,400 companies in 17 European countries to ask them about the prevailing payment practices in their respective locations. In the spring of 2019, 200 companies with an annual turnover of more than EUR 5 million in each of the countries Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK answered questions about their own payment experiences and current issues relating to risk and receivables management. The annual survey has now been conducted by EOS no less than 12 times.

    About EOS Group

    EOS Group is a leading international provider of customized financial services. As a specialist in the evaluation and processing of receivables, EOS deploys new technologies to offer its some 20,000 customers in 26 countries financial security through smart services. The company’s core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. Working within an international network of partner companies, EOS Group has a workforce of more than 7,500 and over 60 subsidiaries, so it can access resources in more than 180 countries. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS is part of Otto Group.

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