August 5, 2014 / 7:50 AM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-Baloise expects to report H1 profit above 340 mln Sfr

* Baloise says H1 net profit up more than 40 pct

* H1 combined ratio stood at just over 93 pct

* Insurer says poised to hit ROE and other targets (Adds analyst comment, share price)

ZURICH, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Swiss insurer Baloise said it expects to report a first-half net profit of more than 340 million Swiss francs ($375 million) when it publishes results later this month, and is poised to hit its financial targets.

The Basel-based firm’s targets include a combined ratio of 93 to 96 percent, a margin on new business of more than 10 percent and a return on equity of up to 12 percent.

“These strong half-year financial results reaffirm the strategic approach adopted by Baloise,” the firm said in a statement on Tuesday.

Baloise, which said its combined ratio stood at just over 93 percent in the first half, is due to report full results on Aug. 28.

Analysts including Bank Vontobel and J. Safra Sarasin lauded the better-than-expected earnings, which bolstered the insurer’s shares in early trading.

“This clearly testifies to a strong start into 2014, but was also helped by unusually low claims in the Swiss non-life and extraordinary items in the life business,” said Safra Sarasin analyst Dominik Studer, who rates the stock at neutral.

At 0722 GMT, Baloise shares were up 1.4 percent at 90.18, outpacing a 0.8 percent rise in the European sector.

$1 = 0.9066 Swiss Francs Reporting By Katharina Bart; Editing by Sophie Walker

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