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Swiss Re reports Q4 net profit

Swiss Re has reported a fourth-quarter net profit of SFr403 million ($373.4 million) – a far cry from the SFr1.75 billion loss it suffered during the year-earlier period.

The Zurich-based company said earnings per share were SFr1.18 compared with a loss of SFr5.34 per share in the last three months of 2008. Full-year net profit for 2009 reached SFr506 million compared with a loss of SFr864 million the previous year.

The quarterly results fell short of analysts' expectations.

Chief Executive Stefan Lippe said the company had “come a long way”, rebuilding its capital base, purging risky holdings and restoring the profitability to its core insurance business.

The absence of major disasters allowed the reinsurance company to more than double operating income in its property and casualty business to SFr853 million.

Swiss Re's life and health insurance business saw a fall of operating income to SFr88 million from SFr224 million.

The asset management unit's return on investments fell to 3.3 per cent from 4.9 per cent, partly due to writedowns of SFr248 million.

The company said it aims for a return on equity of 12 per cent this year as it improves its investment portfolio and sells off undesirable assets.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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