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Frankfurt (AFP) Feb 05, 2013
Munich Re, the world's biggest reinsurer, said Tuesday its bottom-line profit increased by more than fourfold in 2012 on lower losses from natural catastrophes.
Munich Re said in a statement it booked net profit of 3.2 billion euros ($4.3 billion) last year, compared with 0.71 billion euros a year earlier.
Operating profit also more than quadrupled, soaring to 5.4 billion euros in 2012 from 1.2 billion euros in 2011 and gross premium income was up 5.1 percent at 52.0 billion euros, the statement said.
"This very pleasing profit is founded on our rigorous risk management, disciplined underwriting policy and the realisation of profitable business opportunities," said chief financial officer Joerg Schneider.
"Our core business in insurance and reinsurance is healthy, while the claims burden from major losses was slightly below average. We also achieved a good investment result," Schneider said.
Munich Re said its natural catastrophe losses amounted to 1.3 billion euros last year, with Hurricane Sandy being the year's biggest loss event costing the group around 800 million euros before tax.
The year before, natural catastrophe losses had been as much as 4.5 billion euros in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, earthquakes in New Zealand and floods in Thailand.
"2012 thus brought good progress," he continued and added that the dividend would be "substantially increased" to 7.0 euros per share for 2012 from 6.25 euros a year earlier.
In the fourth quarter alone, Munich Re sustained a 23.9-percent drop in net profit to 480 million euros owing to writedowns and restructuring costs.
Operating profit, on the other hand, doubled to 1.6 billion euros in the October-December period on a 4.5-percent increase in gross premium income to 12.9 billion euros, Munich Re said.
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