UPDATE 1-Topdanmark beats Q4 profits forecast, sees lower 2013

Tue Mar 5, 2013 8:11am EST

Related Topics

* Topdanmark beats Q4 expectations

* Q4 net profit of 453 mln DKK vs 343 mln forecast

* Proposes share buy-back programme of 2 bln DKK (Adds details, CEO and analyst comment)

COPENHAGEN, March 5 (Reuters) - Danish insurer Topdanmark beat fourth quarter 2012 profit expectations with higher investment returns and lower weather-related claims.

Topdanmark also forecast a fall in full-year 2013 net profit to 1.05-1.15 billion crowns from the full year 2012 figure of 1.82 billion crowns.

Fourth-quarter net profit rose to 453 million Danish crowns ($79.04 million) from 350 million crowns in the corresponding 2011 period, beating forecasts for 343 million crowns in a Reuters poll of analysts.

"2012 has not offered the storms, downpour damage and snow damage that we expect in a normal year", Chief Executive Christian Sagild wrote in a statement.

Shares rose 2.0 percent by 1300 GMT on an investment return that beat market expectations, outperforming the Copenhagen main index, which was up 1.35 percent.

Investment return increased by 128 million crowns to 266 million crowns due to the generally positive financial markets for equities and credit products in 2012.

"The investment return is miles ahead of market expectations. It is really strong", said Stig Nymann, analyst at Alm Brand.

Topdanmark said it expected 2013 combined ratio excluding run-off profits - a measure of insurers' profitability - of around 91-92 percent, up from the previous forecast of around 91 percent. A figure below 100 means underwriting is profitable. The lower the figure the better.

The company said its share buy-back programme for 2013 was 2 billion crowns, including 500 million transferred from the 2012 programme. The buy-back represents a yield of 12.4 percent. ($1 = 5.7311 Danish crowns) (Reporting by Johan Ahlander and Stine Jacobsen, editing by Paul Casciato)

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