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Helvetia Raises Dividend 2.9% After Boosting Profit on Sales

Helvetia Holding AG, Switzerland’s No. 4 insurer, raised its dividend by 2.9 percent after full-year profit rose on higher sales in both life and non-life insurance.

Net income rose to 363.3 million Swiss francs ($414.3 million) from 330.5 million francs the year before, the St. Gallen-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. That beat the 360-million-franc average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Helvetia, which generates more than half of its revenue in Switzerland, last year acquired the transport insurance portfolio of Groupama SA’s Gan Eurocourtage, making it France’s second-biggest insurer for transport. Business volume increased 7.1 percent to 7.48 billion francs last year, driven by sales in both life and non-life insurance.

“The impressive annual result underlines the successful development of the Helvetia Group,” Chief Executive Officer Stefan Loacker said in the statement. “The broad-based growth and the increase in profit show that we are on the right path with our Helvetia 2015+ strategy.”

The insurer, which said last year reaching a return on equity target of between 10 percent and 12 percent would be difficult because of low interest rates, said the ratio rose to 9.3 percent in 2013 from 9.1 percent in 2012.

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