VIENNA Aug 27 Austrian insurer Uniqa boosted second-quarter earnings from ordinary activities by nearly 70 percent to 80 million euros ($107 million) as premiums rose, highlighting its earnings power before a planned share issue.
Premiums written rose to 1.23 billion euros from 1.15 billion a year earlier, while net profit nearly tripled to 75 million euros.
Despite a 30-million-euro hit from flood damage, its combined ratio, a measure of profitability in the property and accident segments, improved in the first half to 99.4 percent from 100.7 percent a year earlier, the company said on Tuesday.
Uniqa said it was on track to hit long-term growth targets, which include doubling the number of customers it had in 2010 to 15 million by 2020 and increasing pretax profit by up to 400 million euros between 2010 and 2015.
Uniqa has left open whether the share sale that will increase its free float to as much as 49 percent from 7.5 percent now would take place this year or next, saying market conditions would decide this.
Uniqa plans to use the proceeds to fuel expansion in eastern Europe, where it is seeking acquisitions worth up to 150 million euros. ($1 = 0.7477 euros) (Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)