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Storebrand sees increased dividends, potential for Nordic expansion

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OSLO (Reuters) –

*Storebrand <STB.OL> expects to pay out increased dividends going forward, as new business is less capital intensive and with increasing profit sharing from its portfolios, but will also actively look for possibilities to expand is business outside Norway, the company said during an investor day in London on Thursday

*Storebrand maintained its dividend policy of paying out more than 50 percent after tax and a higher nominal level than the previous year, and said it expected to reach a solvency ratio above 180 percent in 2021, when it will start a release of around 10 billion Norwegian crowns (918 million pounds) until 2027

*“We will distribute capital via increased dividend payouts, share buy-backs or a combination of both,” Chief Financial Officer Lars Loeddesoel said

*“We expect to share all of these 10 billion crowns with our shareholders, but we are also active in the market and looking for good opportunities for acquisitions (like Skagen),” Chief Executive Odd Arild Grefstad said

*“We have the positions we want, we don’t need to do acquisitions to ensure growth going forward, but our platform makes it easy for us to do bolt-ons,” he added

*“We have high market shares in Norway, but we are very interested in growing further in Sweden and Denmark, that is the obvious route for us to follow,” Grefstad explained

*Storebrand also sees reduced risks in the guaranteed business with higher interest rates, and has “almost no exposure to Italia”, the CFO said.

(Reporting by Camilla Knudsen, editing by Terje Solsvik)

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