Generali more than doubles dividend on 2013 results

MILAN, March 13 Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:38am EDT

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MILAN, March 13 (Reuters) - Generali proposed on Wednesday to hike its dividend to 0.45 euros ($0.63) a share, more than double what the Italian insurer distributed to investors a year earlier, after posting its highest full-year net profit in six years.

In a statement, Generali said its 2013 net profit rose to 1.915 billion euros from 94 million euros a year earlier. Results were however below a Thomson Reuters SmartEstimate of 2.127 billion euros.

Its net profit for the fourth quarter was 324 million euros, rebounding from a loss of just above one billion euros a year earlier.

The company, Europe's third-largest insurer by market capitalisation, said its closely-watched Solvency I ratio stood at around 150 percent at the end of February, well below what analysts said was an average of around 200 percent for its rivals Allianz, Axa and Zurich.

($1 = 0.7192 euros) (Reporting by Lisa Jucca, editing by Isla Binnie)