May 8, 2014 / 10:56 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Delta Lloyd eyes bigger share of Dutch mortgage market

(Adds CFO comment, details; adds shares)

By Richa Naidu

May 8 (Reuters) - Delta Lloyd NV expects to sell more new mortgages this year, its chief financial officer said, filling a void left by the retreat of credit-squeezed banks from the mortgage market in the Netherlands.

Delta Lloyd said sales of new mortgages more than tripled in the first quarter after the introduction last year of customised interest rates based on the value of the house being mortgaged.

The company's stock rose more than 1 percent on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.

Chief Financial Officer Emiel Roozen said he expected a further increase in new mortgage sales for the rest of 2014, although the full-year rate of growth would be slightly slower than for the first quarter.

"Production will definitely be more than (in) 2013," Roozen told Reuters, referring to new mortgage sales.

Many European banks, still weakened by the 2008 financial crisis, are less able to provide mortgages than before, leaving a gap in the market for insurers. Delta Lloyd operates mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium under the Delta Lloyd, OHRA and ABN AMRO Insurance brands.

The company said on Thursday that it was in discussions with "a number of interested parties" on the sale of its Belgium-based banking business, which it put on the block in October.

Higher mortgage sales - 380 million euros ($529.06 million) in the quarter ended March 31 - took the sting off a 5 percent decline in Delta Lloyd's gross written premiums, the result of lower demand for life and general insurance.

Delta Lloyd, which has its roots in one of the oldest life insurers in mainland Europe, Hollandsche Societeit van Levensverzekeringe, said it expected to achieve insurance group directive (IGD) solvency of more than 200 percent by the end of the year.

Its IGD solvency, a regulatory measure that calculates the surplus capital of an insurance company, rose to 189 percent at the end of the first quarter from 184 percent at the end of 2013.

The company is on the lookout for a new chief executive after announcing last month that CEO Niek Hoek would step down by May 2015.

Delta Lloyd's shares were up 0.56 percent at 19.02 euros on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange at 1031 GMT. The stock his risen nearly 5 percent since the beginning of the year. ($1 = 0.7183 Euros) (Editing by Sunil Nair and Robin Paxton)

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