Hannover Re raises prospect of higher payout ratio

FRANKFURT, June 16 (Reuters) - German reinsurer Hannover Re is looking into raising its dividend payout ratio from next year because of strong earnings in recent years, its finance chief tells German daily Boersen-Zeitung.

* Under its current policy, the group strives to distribute 35-40 percent of net income to shareholders.

* “Our profitability has developed so positively over recent years that it could indeed make sense to adjust the regular dividend payout upwards. After all, we have always reached or exceeded the upper limit of 40 percent since 2011,” CFO Roland Vogel says in an interview in the paper’s Saturday edition.

* He reiterates a target to pay out total dividends of 5 euros ($5.80) per share for 2018, unchanged from last year, barring major natural catastrophes and capital market crashes.

* Vogel reaffirms the group’s full-year earnings guidance.

* Switching to accounting standard IFRS 17 from 2021 will mean more volatile financial results, he adds. ($1 = 0.8615 euros) (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Adrian Croft)