VIENNA Aug 27 Austrian insurer Uniqa
remains on track to boost 2014 pretax profit sharply, it said on
Wednesday while reporting that underlying profit rose by a
quarter in the first half.
Pretax profit fell 7.7 percent to 181.4 million euros
($238.7 million) but was up 24.7 percent adjusted for a 51
million euro gain it booked a year ago from the sale of a hotel
group, it said.
Premiums written - including the savings portion from unit-
and index-linked life insurance - rose 2.0 percent to 3.13
Its combined ratio - a measure of profitability in the
property and accident segments - improved by 1.1 percentage
points to 98.3 percent despite claims for flood damage in
eastern and southeastern Europe.
It took a hit of 19 million euros from writing down bonds of
nationalised Austrian lender Hypo Alpe Adria Bank International
after Austria passed a law wiping out holders of some
subordinated debt guaranteed by Hypo's home province.
"We remain on target for again considerably increasing our
EBT (pretax profit) for 2014 as a whole compared to 2013," Chief
Executive Andreas Brandstetter said.
The outlook refers to beating last year's pretax profit of
305.6 million euros.
The outlook assumes stable capital markets, moderate
improvement in the economy and normal losses from natural
Uniqa's solvency ratio improved by 14.7 percentage points
from the end of 2013 to 301.8 percent,
In May, Uniqa had stuck to its forecast for a significant
gain in 2014 profit, noting its business in Ukraine and Russia
was growing despite the political crisis between the two
(1 US dollar = 0.7599 euro)
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Georgina Prodhan)