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Vienna Insurance posts YOY rise in Q4'17 net profit

Vienna Insurance Group AG reported preliminary fourth-quarter 2017 net profit of €106.4 million under International Financial Reporting Standards, up from €90.0 million in the same period in 2016.

Pretax profit rose on a yearly basis to €111.3 million from €105.4 million, while net profit after noncontrolling interests increased to €82.6 million from €68.0 million.

Gross premiums written amounted to €2.23 billion, compared to €2.09 billion a year earlier. Expenses for claims and insurance benefits stood at €1.70 billion, compared to €1.66 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The group's financial result declined year over year to €192.2 million from €255.6 million.

For full year 2017, Vienna Insurance's preliminary net profit rose year over year to €372.6 million from €321.0 million. EPS amounted to €2.23, compared to the year-ago €2.16.

The combined ratio for the quarter stood at 94.9%, compared to the year-ago 95.4%, while full-year 2017 combined ratio improved on a yearly basis to 96.7% from 97.3%. A ratio below 100% indicates that a company or division is making underwriting profit.

The group's managing board will propose to raise its dividend for 2017 to 90 euro cents per share from the year-ago 80 cents per share.

Using a sustainable and profit-oriented growth policy, the group said it aims to steadily increase its premium volume to more than €10 billion by 2020, with pretax profit expected to be in the range of €500 million to €520 million.

As a result of the positive business development and measures introduced under the group's Agenda 2020 strategic plan, the group noted that the targets originally set for 2019 are being moved forward to 2018. A pretax profit in the range of €450 million to €470 million is expected in 2018.