Swiss Life Increases Dividend as Swings to Second-Half Profit

Swiss Life Holding AG (SLHN), the biggest Swiss life insurer, raised its dividend 22 percent after reporting a second-half profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates.

Net income of 309 million Swiss francs ($348 million) compared with a loss of 266 million francs in the second half of 2012, when it wrote down the value of German brokerage AWD Holding AG, according to Bloomberg calculations that were confirmed by the Zurich-based company. The average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 238 million-franc profit. Swiss life raised its dividend to 5.50 francs a share.

Swiss Life is seeking to increase profit by cutting costs and boosting sales in its home market and France. Chief Investment Officer Patrick Frost, 45, will become chief executive officer in July, replacing Bruno Pfister, as the company grows its asset management unit, which posted net new inflows of 5.6 billion francs in its external customer business last year.

“2013 was a very good year for Swiss Life,” Pfister said in an e-mailed statement. “Higher premium income, higher margins and higher profit accompanied by lower costs.”

Premium income rose 5.4 percent to 18 billion francs last year after the company sold more policies in units including Switzerland and France.

Swiss Life shares rose 0.3 percent to 202.60 francs in Zurich yesterday, extending gains over the past 12 months to 45 percent. That compares to a 31 percent rise for the 33-member Bloomberg Europe 500 Insurance Index.

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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