(Adds quotes on dividend)
WARSAW May 17 Polish state-run insurer PZU
said it will stick to the group's existing strategy
under new CEO Pawel Surowka, and a dividend payout of at least
50 percent of net profit this year.
Surowka became CEO of eastern Europe's largest insurer last
month, but as deputy CEO previously he was involved in drawing
up the group's strategy that was announced last August.
"We have all participated in work on the strategy, we stick
to it," Surowka told a news conference.
The strategy includes cost cutting and PZU, which employs
more than 23,000 people, announced in March that it planned to
cut up to 956 jobs by mid-December.
Chief Financial Officer Tomasz Kulik told Wednesday's news
conference that the company still planned to pay more than 50
percent of net profit in dividends this year, even after setting
money aside for potential acquisitions and for its planned 3
billion zloty ($795 million) bond issue, announced in March.
PZU's long-term dividend policy assumes that up to 20
percent of net profit is kept for growth and innovation
projects; at least 50 percent is used to pay dividends, while
the rest may be paid out as a dividend, or withheld in the case
"(The dividend policy for this year) provides for an option
to withhold part of net profit for an acquisition opportunity.
We will probably consider keeping part of this pool, as we have
some plans regarding rebuilding our capital position through
issuing a subordinated instrument on the Polish market," Kulik
"(This) would allow us to pay a slightly higher dividend
than ... only 50 percent," he added.
Kulik later told reporters that it could be as high as 80
percent of net profit.
"I assume it won't be 50 percent: between 50 and 80 percent.
We wouldn't like to communicate at this stage whether it will be
65 percent, or 60 percent, or 70 percent," he said.
PZU agreed last year to buy a stake in Poland's second
largest lender bank Pekao SA and the transaction will
be finalised at the beginning of June.
($1 = 3.7748 zlotys)
(Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; Writing by Agnieszka Barteczko;
Editing by Lidia Kelly and Susan Fenton)