February 9, 2022
HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finnish financial group Sampo on Wednesday reported a bigger-than-expected rise in fourth-quarter pretax profit boosted by the strong performance of its core insurance operations.
The pan-Nordic insurer reported a pretax profit of 1.2 billion euros ($1.37 billion) for the quarter, compared with a loss of 675 million a year ago, beating the 998 million euro average estimate in a poll provided by the company.
October-December profit before taxes amounted to 452 million euros excluding one-offs from Sampo significantly reducing its holding in pan-Nordic bank Nordea to focus on the insurance business.
Sampo said the group’s combined ratio for its property and casualty insurance business improved 2 percentage points to 81.4% in full-year 2021, beating the mean estimate of 82.8%. A ratio below 100 means the insurer earns more in premiums than it pays out in claims.
“The result was supported by excellent profitability in our largest subsidiary, If P&C, which achieved a combined ratio of 81.3 per cent and underwriting profit of 891 million euros in 2021, representing growth of 15% year-on-year excluding COVID-19 effects,” Sampo’s Chief Executive Torbjorn Magnusson said in a statement.
Sampo’s board proposed a dividend of 4.10 euros per share, including an insurance dividend of 1.70 euros per share.
($1 = 0.8763 euros)
(Reporting by Anne Kauranen, Editing by Louise Heavens)