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EARNINGS

Allianz more than doubles net profit in 2012

German insurance giant Allianz said Thursday its net profit more than doubled last year as it shrugged off the worst of the financial crisis.

Allianz more than doubles net profit in 2012
Photo: DPA

Allianz said in a statement that its net profit amounted to €5.169 billion last year, up from €2.545 billion a year earlier. The 2011 figure had been impacted by write downs on Allianz’s holdings in Greek sovereign debt and investments, the insurer explained. But underlying or operating profit also increased, rising by 20.8 percent to €9.5 billion on a 2.7 percent rise in revenues to €106.4 billion.

All divisions achieved double-digit percentage growth in operating profit, Allianz said. In the fourth quarter alone, net profit soared 148 percent to €1.22 billion, operating profit rose by 13.8 percent to €2.275 billion and revenues grew by 3.6 percent to €25.9 billion.

Chief executive Michael Diekmann noted that the numbers exceeded the group’s forecast, which Allianz had already raised last year after a better than expected performance in the first three quarters. “Despite the impact from the storm Sandy, we exceeded our forecast,” Diekmann said.

In January, Allianz had said it took a hit of €455 million from Hurricane Sandy. But overall, insured losses for the industry were significantly lower in 2012 than in the previous year, when record figures were posted due to the earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand and severe floods in Thailand.

“Our results show how well our business model can handle the various turbulences from the financial crisis,” Diekmann said. Allianz would therefore pay an unchanged dividend of €4.50 per share for 2012, he added.

Looking ahead to the current year, Diekmann said that despite the low interest rate environment and overall global economic uncertainty, “I am confident that again in 2013 Allianz will maintain its profitability.”

“With cautious optimism and assuming that natural catastrophes and capital market turbulence do not exceed expected levels, our operating profit outlook for 2013 is €9.2 billion, plus or minus € 500 million,” Diekmann said.

On the Frankfurt stock exchange, Allianz shares were performing slightly better than the overall market, showing a loss of just 0.77 percent while the blue-chip DAX 30 index was down 1.05 percent.

AFP/mb

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MONEY

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Italy's government will extend its proposed one-time €200 benefit to more people and introduce a €60 public transport payment, Italian media reported on Thursday.

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Seasonal workers, domestic and cleaning staff, the self-employed, the unemployed and those on Italy’s ‘citizens’ income’ will be added to the categories of people in Italy eligible for a one-off €200 payment, ministers reportedly announced on Thursday evening.

The one-time bonus, announced earlier this week as part of a package of financial measures designed to offset the rising cost of living, was initially set to be for pensioners and workers on an income of less than €35,000 only.

However the government has now agreed to extend the payment to the additional groups following pressure from Italy’s labour, families, and regional affairs ministers and representatives of the Five Star Movement, according to news agency Ansa.

Pensioners and employees will reportedly receive the €200 benefit between June and July via a direct payment into their pension slip or pay packet.

For other groups, a special fund will be created at the Labour Ministry and the procedures for claiming and distributing payments detailed in an incoming decree, according to the Corriere della Sera news daily.

One new measure introduced at the cabinet meeting on Thursday is the introduction of a one-time €60 public transport bonus for students and workers earning below €35,000. The bonus is reportedly designed to encourage greater use of public transport and will take the form of an e-voucher that can be used when purchasing a bus, train or metro season pass.

Other provisions reportedly proposed in the energy and investment decree (decreto energia e investimenti), which is still being adjusted and amended, include extending energy bill discounts, cutting petrol excise duty and rolling on the deadline to claim Italy’s popular ‘superbonus 110’.

The €14 billion aid package, intended to lessen the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, will “fight the higher cost of living” and is “a temporary situation”, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said.

The Local will report further details of the payment scheme once they become available following final approval of the decree.

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