Italian asset manager Azimut raises 2020 guidance

MILAN, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Italian asset manager Azimut raised its 2020 net profit guidance on Thursday after tripling 2019 earnings to an estimated 360-370 million euros ($400-411 million) on revenues of more than a billion euros.

The Milan-based company said it now aims to achieve a net profit of at least 300 million euros in the current year by growing its business in Italy and abroad. It had previously forecast a net profit of 250-300 million euros.

Considering the dividend that will be paid this year, the asset manager said it anticipated the average payout over the five years of its business plan to be above its targets and higher than 90 percent of total earnings.

The Italian asset management industry regained some pace last year after negative market conditions had dramatically slowed inflows in 2018. Assets under management stood at 2.280 billion euros at the end of November 2019 compared to 2.017 billion euros in the whole 2018, according to industry group Assogestioni.

Azimut last year implemented a reorganization of its asset management portfolio and other measures to regain efficiency, keeping selling, general and administrative costs flat.

Its international business enjoyed strong earnings growth, contributing an estimated 50 to 55 million euros to the group’s core profits, a 53% percent increase compared to 2018. ($1 = 0.9001 euros) (Reporting by Maria Pia Quaglia, editing by Elaine Hardcastle)