March 21, 2019 / 7:43 AM / a month ago

Vienna Insurance Group plans to increase dividend by 11 pct

VIENNA, March 21 (Reuters) - Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) on Thursday reported a nearly 10 percent increase in 2018 pre-tax profit thanks to solid growth in the Baltic States, Bulgaria and Czech Republic, and proposed to increase its dividend by 11 percent.

It also forecast higher pre-tax profit for 2019 and 2020.

Profit before tax reached 485.4 million euros ($554.57 million) in 2018 after 442.5 million the previous year, the group said.

The result after taxes and non-controlling interests decreased 9.6 percent to 268.9 million euros due to one-time effects caused by higher tax payments.

The combined ratio - a measure of profitability in the property and accident business - fell 0.7 percentage points to 96.0 percent last year. VIG expects the ratio to improve to around 95 percent by 2020.

VIG said it would propose an increase in its dividend payment to 1 euro per share from the previous year’s 0.90 euros per share.

The group forecast a premium volume of 9.9 billion euros and pre-tax profit of 500-520 million euros for 2019. In 2020, premium volume is seen at 10.2 billion euros and pre-tax profit at 530-550 million euros. ($1 = 0.8753 euros) (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle)

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