Zurich Insurance shares dip on weak profits
Swiss group Zurich Insurance says its net profit rose three percent during the first nine months of the year, but plunged in the third quarter and missed expectations.
From January through September, the group posted a net profit of $3.03 billion on sales up three percent at $54.73 billion, the insurer said on Thursday.
Its operating profit during the period meanwhile rose seven percent to $3.8 billion.
The results fell short of the expectations of analysts polled by the AWP financial news agency, who had anticipated to see a $3.13 billion net profit and an operating profit of $3.94 billion.
The insurer's combined ratio — a measure of how effective insurers are at balancing administrative costs and payouts to clients against premiums paid in — improved 1.2 percentage points during the nine-month period to 96.6 percent.
During the third quarter though, Zurich's results looked far bleaker, with its net profit nosediving 16 percent to $928 million, and its operating profit sliding six percent to $1.21 billion.
Sales meanwhile rose three percent compared to the same three-month period a year ago to $17.17 billion.
"Overall, this is a solid set of results," company chief financial officer George Quinn insisted in the earnings statement.
He added though that "while we continue to make progress, we recognize the environment is getting tougher, underlining the need for us to remain focused on our strategic approach."
Quinn said the company's "very strong financial position gives us the capacity and flexibility to manage in a challenging environment."
Following the news, Zurich saw its share price fall 2.25 percent to 287.20 francs a piece in mid-morning trading in a Swiss market down just 0.28 percent.