Allianz predicts flat 2010 as boosts dividend payout

City A.M. Reporter
EUROPE’S biggest insurer Allianz yesterday forecast a stagnating year ahead, mired in low economic growth and high unemployment.

It unveiled net profit of €1.076bn (£1bn) in the fourth quarter, shy of the €1.17bn expected in consensus forecasts and lifted its dividend by almost one fifth. But it said 2010 operating profit will match the €7.2bn attained in 2009.

“Given the still volatile market environment, it is impossible to give a precise forecast,” chief executive Michael Diekmann said in reference to the 2010 operating profit goal.

Allianz plans to raise its dividend for 2009 by 17 per cent to €4.10 following a similar trend at peers like French rival AXA. The group’s quarterly net profit compares with a loss of more than €3bn in the year-earlier quarter when it sold Dresdner Bank.