The Swiss insurance group, Baloise (Basler), says net profits were up 22 per cent last year reaching SFr634 million ($375.4 million). The figures were in line with the group's forecasts, made in February.This content was published on April 5, 2001 - 09:23
Baloise, which is Switzerland's fourth largest insurance group, said in a statement that it expected to see higher than average earnings this year: "We are sticking to our aim of achieving a double-digit percentage increase in profit every year."
The company said it proposed paying an unchanged dividend of SFr24 ($14), and plans an additional SFr9 capital repayment to shareholders.
Mid-sized Baloise has been at the centre of takeover speculation in recent weeks, amid rumours that its largest shareholder, Zurich Financial, might want to sell its stake.
Zurich, which controls nearly a third of Baloise's shares and options, has denied the rumours.
Baloise focuses on the Swiss, German, Austrian, Belgium and Luxembourg markets. Its second largest shareholder, with a 13 per cent stake, is the BZ Group, owned by Swiss financier Martin Ebner.
swissinfo with agencies
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