Swiss Re hikes its dividend by 175pc

SWISS RE sought to reassure investors worried about its large catastrophe losses this year with a substantial dividend hike yesterday.

The reinsurer, which scrapped its full-year profit target this week after taking more than $2.5bn (£1.53bn) in losses from disasters in Japan and New Zealand, has proposed raising its 2010 dividend by 175 per cent.

The Swfr2.75 (£1.86) a share payment, up from one Swiss franc a share in 2010, will be paid on 26 April 2011 if shareholders approve it at its annual general meeting on 15 April.

The board said it reflected “Swiss Re’s improved capital base and profitability,” as its economic net worth grew 11 per cent to $30.7bn in 2010.

Swiss Re has also proposed buying back 95m of its 180m authorised shares and raising capital in future by issuing convertible bonds to the value of 50m shares.