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Baloise Profit Jumps Sevenfold After Investment Income Rebounds

Baloise Holding AG (BALN), the 150-year- old Swiss insurer, reported a sevenfold increase in profit after investment gains and as year-earlier writedowns on Greek sovereign debt holdings weren’t repeated.

Net income rose to 436.6 million Swiss francs ($461 million) from 60.8 million francs in 2011, the Basel, Switzerland-based insurer said today in a statement. That compares with the 430 million-franc average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Switzerland’s third-biggest insurer said investment income climbed after gains from the acquisition of high-dividend paying shares. Baloise, which plans to keep its dividend unchanged at 4.50 francs, cut its return-on-equity-target to 10 percent to 12 percent from 15 percent because of declining interest rates.

“Our robust financial results can be attributed to our extremely strong insurance business and the high level of income from our investments,” Chief Executive Officer Martin Strobel said in the statement.

The company said in future it will aim for a combined ratio of 93 percent to 96 percent in its non-life business and a new business margin of more than 10 percent for the life unit.

To contact the reporter on this story: Carolyn Bandel in Zurich at cbandel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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