February 14, 2020 / 7:42 AM / 7 days ago

UnipolSai confirms targets, hikes dividend after 2019 profits rise

MILAN, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Italy’s second largest insurer UnipolSai confirmed its business plan targets on Friday and hiked its dividend after 2019 normalised earnings rose.

In a statement, the insurer said net profits for the year, stripping out one-off charges relating to staff layoffs, were up 3.2% at 721 million euros ($781 million). Earnings in 2018 had included a capital gain of 309 million euros from a disposal.

Net premiums for the year rose around 21% to 13.3 billion euros, boosted by a buoyant life sector which offset flat auto business due to pricing pressure.

The solvency ratio, a key measure of financial strength, stood at 250%, up from 202% in 2018, it said.

The insurer, which is almost 80% owned by Bologna-based holding Unipol Group, said it would propose a dividend of 0.16 euro per share, up from 0.145 euros a year earlier.

$1 = 0.9229 euros Reporting by Andrea Mandalà; editing by Stephen Jewkes

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