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Aug 18 (Reuters) - British insurer Amlin Plc reported an 8 percent decline in first-half pretax profit, hurt by large-catastrophe losses and adverse foreign exchange translations, and said it saw a healthy retention of client base in the second half.
The largest listed British underwriter that is a member of the Lloyd's of London insurance market said its estimated net exposure to the Malaysia Airlines MH17 disaster and Tripoli Airport fire was less than 25 million pounds ($41 million).
Pretax profit fell to 148.5 million pounds in the six months ended June 30 from 161.4 million pounds a year earlier.
Large catastrophe losses incurred were 48.9 million pounds, a rise of 52 percent from a year earlier. This includes a loss of 25.1 million pounds from hailstorms in Europe and a hit of 23.8 million pounds from the tornado in Nebraska.
"In the absence of material catastrophe activity in the second half, reinsurance markets are expected to remain challenging but margin potential exists and our market position and extent of product offering supports healthy retention of our client base," the company said in a statement.
Amlin, which writes cover for natural disasters, ships and planes, said it had a "modest" exposure to the Malaysia Airlines MH370 passenger jet that went missing in March and the Sewol passenger vessel disaster in South Korea.
The company said it felt an adverse foreign exchange swing of 24.6 million pounds during the period.
Amlin said it would pay an interim dividend of 8.1 pence per share, up from 7.8 pence per share a year earlier.
Investment returns were 1.3 percent, compared with a tough comparative figure of 1.4 percent from last year.
Net written premiums rose 7.3 percent to 1.63 billion pounds during the period.
The FTSE-250 company's shares were down 0.2 percent at 446.3 pence at 0724 GMT on the London Stock Exchange. ($1 = 0.5978 British Pounds) (Reporting by Richa Naidu and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)