Munich Re Shares Decline After First-Quarter Profit Warning

Munich Re, the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, fell the most since August 2013 after saying first-quarter profit will be lower than it previously expected.

Earnings for the quarter will also be lower than a year earlier after market turmoil caused the company to write down equity investments, Chief Executive Officer Nikolaus von Bomhard said at the annual shareholder meeting in Munich on Wednesday. Munich Re’s profit target for the year is “ambitious,” he said.

“Capital markets were highly volatile in the first quarter -- share prices in particular fell -- and we will be posting writedowns,” von Bombard said.

Munich Re dropped as much as 5.6 percent in Frankfurt and was down 4.5 percent to 172.65 euros at 10:44 a.m. That gave the company a market value of about 29 billion euros ($33 billion).

The reinsurer is confident of keeping a stable dividend, von Bomhard said. He also confirmed Munich Re’s full-year profit target of 2.3 billion euros to 2.8 billion euros, which doesn’t include restructuring costs at the Ergo primary insurance unit. Ergo will present details on the costs in the second quarter. Von Bomhard, 59, will hand over the top post to management board member Joachim Wenning, 51, in April 2017.

Reinsurers help primary insurers shoulder disaster claims. As losses from natural catastrophes remain below-average, prices for coverage have declined since 2013, according to the Guy Carpenter World Property Catastrophe Rate on Line Index. Industry earnings also face pressure from record-low interest rates.

Scor SE, France’s largest reinsurer, earlier on Wednesday reported first-quarter profit that beat estimates on higher life premiums and low natural-catastrophe claims.

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