July 26 (Bloomberg) -- CNP Assurances SA, France’s largest life insurer, said first-half profit advanced 7.9 percent, helped by premium growth in Brazil.
Net income climbed to 583 million euros ($774 million) from 540 million euros a year earlier, the Paris-based insurer said in a statement today. CNP shares rose as much as 3 percent.
Premiums increased 5.6 percent to 14 billion euros, helped by a “sharp rise” at its Brazilian pensions and home-loan insurance business, according to a presentation on the company’s website. Brazil is CNP’s second-largest market, with first-half premiums up 22 percent to 1.57 billion euros.
“Insurance is gaining clout in this country in a very important way,” even as the economy slows down, Chief Financial Officer Antoine Lissowski said on a call with journalists today, without disclosing the company’s growth targets in Brazil. CNP saw “no significant impact on sales” from last month’s street protests in the country.
More than 1 million Brazilians took to the streets in the largest cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, last month, voicing discontent over bus fare increases, corruption, the quality of public services and government spending priorities.
CNP rose 2.9 percent to 12.81 euros by 9:41 a.m. in Paris, bringing the gain this year to 10 percent. That compares with the 16 percent increase in the Bloomberg Europe 500 Insurance Index, which tracks 28 companies.
CNP’s first-half premiums in France fell 3.8 percent to 10.38 billion euros, it said. The French economy has barely grown over the past two years and life-insurance policies faced competition from tax-free bank savings.
The insurer took a 50 million-euro provision for its business in Cyprus. CNP had a joint venture with Cyprus Popular Bank Pcl, which faces a break-up as part of the island’s March bailout.
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