Zurich Insurance boosts net profit 24 percent, hikes dividend

Zurich Insurance boosts net profit 24 percent, hikes dividend
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ZURICH (Reuters) - Zurich Insurance stuck to its financial targets while reporting 2018 net income rose 24 percent to $3.72 billion (£2.9 billion) and proposing to raise its dividend to 19 Swiss francs a share.

Analysts polled by Infront Data had on average expected 2018 net profit to rise 16 percent to $3.48 billion and a higher dividend of 18.9 Swiss francs per share.

"We have continued to strengthen our profitability and lower costs while growing our business, expanding our global footprint and broadening our range of innovative solutions to meet the changing needs of customers. This performance gives us great confidence as we enter the next phase of our development over the year ahead," Chief Executive Mario Greco said.

The group's business operating profit rose 20 percent to $4.6 billion.

The insurer said it was well on track to deliver on 2017 to 2019 targets with $1.1 billion in cumulative net cost savings achieved, a business operating profit after tax return on equity of 12.1 percent and an estimated Zurich Economic Capital Model ratio of 125 percent.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by John Revill)

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