Generali Third-Quarter Profit Rises as Operating Income Climbs

Assicurazioni Generali SpA (G), Italy’s biggest insurer, said third-quarter profit rose 75 percent as it earned more from its life segment and property and casualty operations.

Net income rose to 510 million euros ($690 million) from 291 million euros a year earlier, Trieste, Italy-based Generali said in a statement today. Earnings beat the 411 million-euro average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“We are making good progress with the transformation of our group and today’s results demonstrate that we are on track to reach our targets,” Chief Executive Officer Mario Greco said in a statement. “Now we will work with even greater focus on improving our profitability,” he said, reiterating that Generali expects higher operating results this year.

Greco, who took over as CEO last year, is selling non-strategic assets and focusing on the company’s main business to strengthen finances and boost profitability. The insurer is more than half way to reaching its goal of raising 4 billion euros from disposals by 2015, after selling its U.S. reinsurance unit and Mexican businesses earlier this year.

“We are positive on the company’s new more-focused strategy and believe that the value this creates more than offsets the downside risk of raising equity capital,” Andreas van Embden, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co., wrote in a note last week.

Non-life operating profit increased 12 percent to 430 million euros as the insurer reduced costs. Claims and costs as a proportion of premiums, known as the combined ratio, improved to 95.1 percent in the first nine months of the year from 96.6 percent a year earlier.

Operating income rose 8.5 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier to 984 million euros as income at the life business rose 13 percent to 591 million euros.

Generali’s solvency ratio, a measure of its capacity to absorb losses, rose to 143 percent by Sept. 30 from 139 percent in June, the insurer said. As of the end of October, the ratio was 152 percent, the company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sonia Sirletti in Milan at ssirletti@bloomberg.net; Francesca Cinelli in Milan at fcinelli@bloomberg.net

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

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