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Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Helvetia Holding AG, the Swiss insurer that is buying local competitor Nationale Suisse, said first-half profit rose 9.1 percent, boosted by its non-life business and after the value of large claims declined.

Net income climbed to 195.8 million Swiss francs ($213 million) from 179.5 million francs in the same period of last year, the St. Gallen, Switzerland-based insurer said in an e- mailed statement today. That beat the 188.5 million-franc average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Helvetia won a bidding contest to buy Nationale Suisse, which was pushed into a sale by its largest shareholders in July, creating Switzerland’s third-biggest insurer and ousting Baloise Holding AG from that position. Helvetia, which generates more than half of its revenue in Switzerland, will ask shareholders on Sept. 17 to approve a capital increase to pay for the acquisition.

Sales increased 1 percent to 4.82 billion francs in the first half, spurred by the non-life business in Switzerland and Germany, Helvetia said.

Helvetia’s shares have risen 2 percent this year, valuing the company at 3.95 billion francs. The 32-member Bloomberg Europe 500 Insurance Index has climbed 3.5 percent over the period.

To contact the reporter on this story: Carolyn Bandel in Zurich at cbandel@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Bentley at mbentley3@bloomberg.net Thomas Mulier, Paul Verschuur

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