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Mapfre Shares Fall as Earnings Miss Estimates, Hit by Currencies

Mapfre SA fell in Madrid trading after Spain’s biggest insurer reported 2013 earnings that missed analyst estimates on weakening currencies in emerging markets and lower premiums in its home market,

Shares fell 2.6 percent after the Madrid-based company reported a 19 percent increase in net income to 790.5 million euros ($1.1 billion), below the 906.3 million-euro average in a Bloomberg survey of 16 analysts. In 2012, Mapfre took more than 400 million euros of charges to clean up its balance sheet.

Earnings from international divisions in countries from Brazil to Turkey now account for 72 percent of profit, enabling Mapfre to offset the impact of weak demand for insurance products such as auto coverage in its home market. Even so, weakening currencies, especially in Latin America and Turkey, had a “very significant” impact on results, the company said.

Revenue rose 2.3 percent in 2013 to 25.9 billion euros as total premiums rose 1.2 percent to 21.8 billion euros, the insurer said. In constant currency terms, premiums would have risen 8.1 percent and profit 26 percent, Mapfre said.

Pretax profit at Mapfre’s international business rose 15 percent from a year earlier to 894.7 million euros. Profit by that measure from Spain and Portugal rose 3.1 percent to 552.5 million euros as premiums fell an annual 8.8 percent.

Currencies in emerging markets from Latin America to Turkey have tumbled as the Federal Reserve began taking steps to withdraw the monetary stimulus that fueled investment. The Argentine peso has weakened 37 percent against the euro in the past 12 months, while the Brazilian real has dropped 20 percent and the Turkish lira 21 percent.

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