PRAGUE - INTERFAX CENTRAL EUROPE - Prague-listed Austrian insurer (VIG) said Tuesday according its pre-tax profit reached EUR 540 mln last year and a dividend of at least EUR 1.10 per share is planned.
"We will achieve our target Group profit (before taxes) of around EUR 540 mln despite the negative impacts on the financial results in 2008," (622 CZK, 7,04%) chief executive Gunter Geyer said.
, mainly traded in Vienna, achieved total unconsolidated premiums written of EUR 8.32 bln in 2008, up 16.1% year-on-year (y/y). It said the premium share of Central and Eastern European operations last year exceeded 50% for the first time.
"[We] have risen, with the acquisition of all the insurance activities of the (315 CZK, 2,01%) Group, to number one in our core markets in CEE," Geyer said. "The preliminary premium growth in our Group companies in CEE is around 35%."
In the non-life segment, Group premiums of EUR 4.87 bln were achieved (up 19% y/y) while the life insurance segment grew 12.2% y/y due primarily to the development in CEE with Group premiums of EUR 3.46 bln.
Group premiums in CEE markets amounted to EUR 4.17 bln last year, an excellent rise of 35.6%. In the non-life business, preliminary premiums reached EUR 2.89 bln (up 32%) and in the life insurance business total Group premiums written of EUR 1.28 bln (up 44.4%).
"These values confirm the continued high growth potential of the Central and Eastern European region," said.
Premiums for the three companies in the Czech Republic - where ranks second on the insurance market - increased 13.1% on the year to EUR 1.53 bln.
"The motor of premium growth was undoubtedly life insurance, which rose 34.4%, with Group premiums of EUR 436.82 mln," said, adding non-life segment saw stable growth of 6.3% with premiums amounting to EUR 1.09 bln.
In Slovakia, where also ranked second last year, four Group companies achieved a growth of 13.8%, with preliminary premiums written totaling EUR 614.57 mln. In non-life, Group premiums were EUR 339.53 mln (up 10.5%), and in life insurance premiums amounted to EUR 275.04 mln (up 18.1%).
In Poland, premiums were up 38% to EUR 827.61 mln - EUR 468.08 mln in the non-life segment (up 32.8%) and EUR 359.53 mln in the life segment (up 45.3%) in comparison to 2007. is ranked sixth on the Polish market.
The Romanian Group companies "significantly strengthened the leading market position" of in 2008 with preliminary premiums of EUR 612.98 mln and premium growth of 68%, the insurer said. Preliminary revenues from the non-life insurance were EUR 574.07 mln (up 62.8%) and in the life insurance segment premiums reached EUR 38.91 mln - did not immediately provide a corresponding figure.