Vienna Insurance sees 2012 pretax up 5 pct

VIENNA Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:16am EST

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VIENNA Jan 24 (Reuters) - Vienna Insurance Group projected on Thursday 2012 profit before tax would rise around 5 percent to about 585 million euros ($777 million), just below market expectations.

Emerging Europe's biggest insurer said unconsolidated premiums rose 9.5 percent to around 9.9 billion euros as the upward trend in all segments continued. Excluding special effects from the single premium business at a life insurance business, premiums rose 2.2 percent, it said, and by over 3 percent adjusted for currency swings.

"Despite the heavy financial burden caused by severe weather conditions, the group will record an excellent combined ratio of around 97 percent for the year 2012," it added.

Analysts polled by Reuters on average expected 2012 group gross written premiums to rise 8.1 percent to 9.6 billion euros and profit before tax of 593 million, up 6.1 percent.

($1 = 0.7530 euros) (Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by James ukwey)