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Bâloise posts 2.5% rise in FY'17 profit, ups dividend

Swiss insurer Bâloise Holding AG reported consolidated full-year 2017 profit attributable to shareholders of CHF548.0 million, up 2.5% from CHF534.8 million in the prior-year period.

EPS for 2017 was CHF11.48, compared to CHF11.22 in 2016. Return on equity dropped on a yearly basis to 8.9% from 9.7%.

Excluding nonrecurring restructuring effects, the Swiss insurer noted that attributable profit would have increased 12.5% to CHF601.7 million.

Gross premiums earned and policy fees increased year over year to CHF6.73 billion from CHF6.68 billion. Net premiums earned and policy fees rose to CHF6.54 billion from CHF6.51 billion.

Gross claims and benefits paid amounted to CHF5.73 billion in 2017, up from CHF5.66 billion a year earlier. Bâloise booked losses on financial contracts for the year of CHF613.4 million, compared to losses of CHF342.9 million in 2016.

The group's total business volume stood at CHF9.26 billion, up from CHF8.91 billion in 2016.

The nonlife division's net combined ratio was 92.3% in 2017, compared to the year-ago 92.2%. New business margin in the life division stood at 33.4%, compared to 21.3% in 2016.

The company said it will propose to its April 27 annual general meeting to increase the dividend for 2017 to CHF5.60 per share from CHF5.20 per share for 2016.

"The shift in the life portfolio towards life insurance products that tie up less capital is having a sustained positive effect. Moreover, we firmly believe that we will achieve our targets by 2021," Group CEO Gert De Winter said. Bâloise aims to generate CHF2 billion of cash for the holding company and attract an additional 1 million customers by 2021.