February 12, 2014 / 7:51 AM / 4 years ago

Sampo pretax profit beats expectations

HELSINKI, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Finnish insurance and investment group Sampo reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly pretax profit due to improved margins in its property and casualty insurance unit, and proposed a dividend above most analysts' forecasts.

Pretax profit for the fourth quarter rose to 440 million euros ($602 million) from 439 million euros a year earlier, the company said on Wednesday. Analysts on average expected 405 million, according to a Reuters poll.

The property and casualty insurance unit's combined ratio, which measures profitability, improved to 87.9 percent from 89.1 a year earlier.

The firm proposed a dividend of 1.65 euros per share, compared with analysts' expectations for around 1.56 euros.

$1 = 0.7312 euros Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Mark Potter

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