Swiss Life First-Half Profit Rises 30% After Premiums Increase

Swiss Life Holding AG (SLHN), Switzerland’s biggest life insurer, said first-half profit climbed 30 percent after selling more policies in Switzerland and France.

Net income rose to 472 million Swiss francs ($506 million), from 364 million francs a year earlier, the Zurich-based insurer said in a statement today. That beat the 367.9 million-franc average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

The company, led by Chief Executive Officer Bruno Pfister, said in November that it will cut costs by as much as 160 million francs and eliminate as many as 400 jobs in Germany and Switzerland. Higher sales in Switzerland and France helped boost Swiss Life’s total premiums by 5.4 percent to 10.4 billion francs in the first half.

“All market units are growing in terms of both premium income and their contribution to the group result,” Pfister said in the statement. “Thanks to strict margin management and further improvements in the product mix, we increased the new business margin from 1.4 percent at the end of 2012 to 2 percent at half-year 2013.”

Operating profit at its Swiss unit, the company’s biggest business, increased 33 percent to 472 million francs, while that in France rose 14 percent to 93 million francs.

Swiss Life cut its targeted return on equity in November to between 8 percent and 10 percent over the next three years from between 10 percent and 12 percent.

Swiss Life posted a net investment result of 2.4 percent after additional gains and “appreciation” in its portfolio.

The company said its solvency capital ratio, a gauge of its ability to cover claims and write new business, dropped to 205 percent at the end of June from 239 percent at the end of last year.

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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