UPDATE 1-Norway's Storebrand profit beats all expectations
* Group profit NOK 810 mln vs NOK 644 mln forecast
* Guaranteed pensions drive profit rise (Adds detail, quote)
OSLO Oct 30 (Reuters) - Norwegian insurer Storebrand posted second-quarter earnings far above expectations on Wednesday as cost cuts showed results and revenues soared at its pensions arm.
Group profit jumped 77 percent to 810 million crowns ($137.6 million), beating a consensus analyst estimate of 644 million crowns and exceeding even the most optimistic forecasts.
"The group's cost programme has reduced costs compared to the same period last year," the firm said. "The programme will have increased impact during the remainder of 2013 and will achieve full effect by the end of 2014."
The guaranteed pension division, its biggest, increased its profit by 72 percent as costs fell while fee and administration income grew 12 percent.
Storebrand is the second big local insurer to report surprisingly strong figures this quarter after Gjensidige last week unveiled forecast-beating third-quarter results, a special dividend and higher financial targets.
Still, Storebrand has underperformed the broader market recently with its shares up 2 percent over the past three months, trailing the broader market's 9 percent rise and Gjensidige's 22 percent increase. ($1 = 5.8871 Norwegian krones) (Reporting by Terje Solsvik; editing by Balazs Koranyi and Tom Pfeiffer)
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