GENERALI posts best yearly profit and dividend in 9 years

The Italian insurer GENERALI announced it closed the year 2016 with an operating result of EUR 4.83 billion, up by 0.9% y-o-y, while the net profit increased by 2.5% y-o-y to EUR 2.08 billion. At the same time, the dividend per share to be proposed at the next Shareholders' Meeting is EUR 0.80, up by 11.1%. The total dividend relating to shares outstanding amounts to EUR 1.24 billion, thus the payout ratio increased from 55.3% in 2015 to 60%.

"The Group closed the year 2016 with excellent results which confirms the strength of its strategy and effectiveness of its implementation. The operating result has reached the best performance ever, thanks to the strong performance of both Life and P&C segments, driven by further improved technical performances and even greater discipline on Opex costs, while the net profit and dividend are the best of the last 9 years", as the Italian insurer annouced in a statement.

On the production side, gross written premiums amounted to EUR 70.51 billion (-3.9%; EUR 74.165 billion in FY15). "The P&C segment improved (+2.1% to EUR 21 billion), confirming the trend already observed during the year, while the Life segment amounted to EUR 49.73 billion (down by 6.3% y-o-y), reflecting both a disciplined approach on products, aiming to optimize the return on invested capital, and the current performance of financial markets".

The performance of P&C premiums due the rise in the Motor line (+4.3%), driven by Spain (+17.8%), CEE countries (+7.1%), Germany (+2.3%) and Argentina (+43.4%), while "Italy (-5.2%) continues to be impacted by both the decrease in average premiums in a highly competitive market and the termination of some large fleet contracts. Non motor was up as well (+0.5%), benefitting from a positive general development across the countries where the Group operates, while Italy was down by 3.6%, following the decline in SME business within a highly competitive market".

GENERALI mentioned that the decrease in Life premiums is following the increasingly disciplined approach pursued in all countries where the Group operates. "With regard to the lines of business, the planned decline in savings products continues (-5.7%), by rebalancing inflows towards products with better risk/return characteristics. Unit-linked income (-10.9%) is still impacted by equity market volatility, but recovering compared to the first half of the year, while protection products (-2.8%) registered positive performances across all of the main areas of operations; the decline in Germany (-12.4%) derived from a very positive performance in 2015 in the health lines".

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