Fortis successor Ageas reports strong earnings

BELGIAN insurer Ageas reported a surge of cash coming into its business in the first half, particularly in Asia, and strong earnings from its life insurance business.

The company, formerly known as Fortis, said yesterday that inflows grew by 22 per cent during the first six months of 2010 and by 59 per cent in Asia.

Insurance net profit dropped to €180.5m (£145m) from €260.4m a year ago, when it booked a €94m one-off tax benefit in Belgium. Almost all of the insurance net profit came from its life business.

The overall net profit, a difficult figure to forecast because of legacy issues related to its previous incarnation as Fortis, was €455m, higher than the €261m average forecast.

Ageas, which operates as AG Insurance in Belgium and sells insurance for the supermarket giant Tesco, reiterated its forecast that the amount of cash coming into the business in 2010 should be higher than in 2009. It halved its exposure to southern European sovereign bonds in the first half of the year to €8.9bn.