Swiss Re reported first quarter net earnings of CHF 1.3 billion ($1.093 billion), an increase of 54 percent over the prior year’s first quarter, “based,” the Company said, “on continuing good performance across all business segments.”
Earnings per share rose 38 percent to CHF 3.85 ($3.167), while annualized return on equity improved to 17.1 percent compared to 14.1 percent in the first quarter of 2006.
“Swiss Re had a good start to 2007,” stated CEO Jacques Aigrain. “All our business segments contributed to Swiss Re’s solid performance, which also benefited from the contributions of former Insurance Solutions units and a strong investment result.”
Premiums earned increased 23 percent to CHF 8.1 billion ($6.66 billion), “benefiting significantly from the Insurance Solutions acquisition,” the bulletin noted. Shareholders’ equity decreased by 1 percent to CHF 30.4 billion ($25 billion), “due to the first step in the share buy-back program of CHF 1.7 billion [$1.4 billion].”
Swiss Re improved its gains on investments by 44 percent to CHF 2.3 billion ($1.9 billion). The return on investments was 5.9 percent, up from 5.4 percent in the first quarter 2006. Net realized investments gains increased by 61 percent to CHF 445 million ($3.66 million) in the first quarter of 2007, “mainly due to equities and the sale of Swiss Re’s London office building.”
Property & Casualty continued its strong performance despite European winter storm Kyrill. Premiums earned increased by 18 percent to CHF 4.6 billion ($3.78 billion). Operating income grew by 4 percent to CHF 1.2 billion ($986 million). Swiss Re said its “combined ratio increased to 94.8 percent (92.9 percent excluding the unwind of discount). Kyrill claims had only a modest impact on the combined ratio.”
Swiss Re also confirmed that it would “continue to build on its leading position in the rapidly-growing area of insurance risk transfer to capital markets and continue to seek further opportunities to put its capital to work at attractive rates through Admin Re® transactions.” It also reaffirmed the targets of earnings per share growth of 10 percent and return on equity of 13 percent over the cycle.
Further information, including access to the investors’ and analysts’ conference calls is available on the Company’s web site at: www.swissre.com.
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