* To buy back shares worth around 3.6 pct of market cap
* Q3 net profit 637 mln euros, down 44 pct, vs poll 611 mln
* Rival Swiss Re eyes special dividend
(Adds company comment, detail, Swiss Re)
FRANKFURT, Nov 7 German reinsurer Munich Re
unveiled plans to buy back up to 1 billion euros
($1.35 billion) of its own shares in the coming months, hoping
to cheer investors after a fall in third-quarter earnings.
The world's biggest reinsurer said it would buy back shares
worth around 3.6 percent of its market capitalisation before its
annual shareholder meeting in April next year.
Chief Executive Nikolaus von Bomhard had raised the prospect
of a share buy-back earlier this year, and the 1 billion figure
is consistent with Munich Re's track record. It bought back on
average 1 billion euros worth of its own shares annually between
2006 and 2011.
Chief Financial Officer Joerg Schneider said the move would
not harm the company's capital position or its ability to write
It may help cheer investors after a 44 percent drop in net
profit in the third quarter, which saw premiums and income from
investments both fall by around 5 percent.
Despite being hit by some big localised claims this year,
such as hail storms and flooding in Germany, reinsurers have not
faced massive payouts for hurricanes or earthquakes, leading
many analysts to predict the industry would move to lure
investors with improved dividends or share buy-backs.
Global No. 2 reinsurer Swiss Re said on Thursday
it would consider a special dividend as a way to return excess
capital to shareholders but said it would wait for full-year
results before making a decision.
Munich Re shares have risen 13 percent so far this year,
underperforming the Dow Jones index of European insurers
, which is up 24 percent since Jan. 1.
($1 = 0.7392 euros)
(Reporting by Jonathan Gould; editing by Noah Barkin and Tom