Allianz to buy back up to 750 million euros worth of shares

MUNICH (Reuters) - German insurer Allianz on Thursday announced plans to buy back up to 750 million euros ($888 million) worth of shares by the end of the year, after last year cancelling a buyback halfway through due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When European economies went into lockdown last year, Europe’s insurance watchdog recommended that insurers temporarily suspend dividends, bonuses and share buybacks until the financial and economic impact of COVID-19 became clearer.

Allianz Chief Executive Oliver Baete said in February that buybacks would be difficult for at least the first half of the year and while European economies were still in lockdown but that they could become possible when economies re-opened.

At Thursday’s closing price of 192.88 euros, Allianz could buy 3.9 million shares. The group has done several major buyback programmes since 2017, spending a total 8.25 billion euros on its own stock.

Allianz is due to publish quarterly financial results on Friday.

($1 = 0.8449 euros)

Reporting by Alexander Huebner; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Paul Carrel and Steve Orlofsky