Australia's QBE net profit slides 18 pct in first half

SYDNEY Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:21pm EDT

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SYDNEY Aug 19 (Reuters) - QBE Insurance Group, Australia's biggest insurer by premium income, on Tuesday posted a 18 percent drop in first-half net profit compared with a year ago, hit by higher-than-expected claims in overseas markets.

QBE said its net profit after tax for the six months ended June 30 was $392 million, in line with a profit warning issued last month, and down from $477 million a year ago. The company also announced a $750 million share placement primarily to cancel $500 million of convertible subordinated debt.

QBE had warned in July that higher claims in Argentina, crop damage in Latin America, UK floods and storms in North America and Europe would outweigh benign catastrophe claims in Australia. (Reporting by Swati Pandey; editing by Jane Wardell and G Crosse)

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