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Swiss Re Seen Trimming Total Investor Payout After Acquisitions

Swiss Re Ltd., the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, will probably trim its total 2013 payout to shareholders by about 3.6 percent after making acquisitions in emerging markets.

It will cut its special dividend to 3.23 Swiss francs a share from 4 francs in the year-earlier period, while the full-year dividend rises to 3.94 francs from 3.50 francs, according to the average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That would reduce the total payout to $2.7 billion from $2.8 billion. The Zurich-based company is scheduled to report earnings tomorrow at 7 a.m. local time.

In its push for growth in faster-growing markets, Swiss Re bought a stake in New China Life Insurance Co. from Zurich Insurance Group AG in November for about $493 million and a holding in Brazilian insurer Sul America SA for $334 million. In October, it invested as much as $425 million in Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li’s FWD Group.

Chief Financial Officer George Quinn said on Nov. 7 the company could pay a special dividend for a second straight year depending on how much excess capital it had. Quinn leaves for Zurich Insurance at the end of April. The reinsurance industry had about $322 billion of capital at the end of 2013, almost a record, according to Guy Carpenter, the reinsurance broker of Marsh & McLennan Cos.

Swiss Re’s fourth-quarter net income probably dropped 1.5 percent to $783 million from the year-earlier period, according to seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, after weather-related claims.

Larger competitor Munich Re said on Feb. 4 it plans to boost its dividend after fourth-quarter profit beat estimates on lower catastrophe-related costs. Net income rose to about 1.2 billion euros ($1.7 billion) from 477 million euros in the year-earlier period.

Swiss Re shares have risen 13 percent over the last 12 months, valuing the company at about 30.8 billion francs ($35 billion). That compares with a 26-percent rise of the 33-member Bloomberg Europe 500 Insurance Index over the same period.

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