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Uniqa Sees 2011 Loss, No Dividend on Writedown of Greek Debt

Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Uniqa Versicherungen AG, Austria’s second-biggest insurer, will suspend its dividend for the year as a second writedown on Greek government bonds results in an annual loss of as much as 300 million euros ($410 million).

Uniqa is writing down its Greek bonds by an additional 242 million euros to their market value of 173 million euros as of Sept. 30, the Vienna-based company said today. That will cause a loss of between 250 million euros and 300 million euros this year, compared with the insurer’s previous plan to break even.

“We do not want to wait until all of the details on the Greek writedown are fixed, and we want to prepare for all foreseeable encumbrances,” new Chief Executive Officer Andreas Brandstetter said in the statement, adding that Uniqa intends to participate in the planned Greek bond swap.

The Greek writedown follows a 190 million-euro charge for restructuring announced last month as Brandstetter sheds 600 jobs. Uniqa is preparing for a share sale in 2013, aiming to double clients by 2020 and raise earnings to 400 million euros by 2015. Uniqa trails Austria’s biggest insurer, Vienna Insurance Group AG.

Uniqa predicted that the restructuring charge would reduce the year’s results to break-even when it announced the job cuts on Sept. 21.

The insurer, which is 46 percent owned by Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG, said recurring premium income rose 4.9 percent in the nine months ended September. Final results for the period will be presented as scheduled on Nov. 24.

To contact the reporters on this story: Boris Groendahl in Vienna at bgroendahl@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net

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