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WARSAW, May 17 (Reuters) - PZU SA, central and eastern Europe's biggest insurer, reported a 91 percent rise in first-quarter net profit on Wednesday buoyed by investment results, its car insurance business and a mild winter which meant less compensation for farmers.
The state-run company reported a net profit of 940 million zlotys ($250.25 million), topping the 888 million expected by analysts and marking its highest quarterly result since the second quarter of 2014.
"The result is strong and close to my expectations. PZU was supported by a good situation on the stock and bond markets, as well as a mild winter which strongly limited compensation to farmers," said Kamil Stolarski, an analyst at Haitong Bank.
Gross written premiums rose to almost 5.8 billion zloty from 4.8 billion a year earlier and beat the 5.6 billion expected by analysts.
Analysts said that shares in PZU may slightly outperform the stock market today, but investors' attention will be focused on management's potential comments regarding PZU's dividend.
The cash-rich company boosted expectations regarding its dividend by saying on Wednesday that it expected more than 450 million zloty in dividends from Bank Pekao SA which it agreed to buy last year.
PZU shares have risen 35 percent in 2017, outpacing a main index up 20 percent.
$1 = 3.7562 zlotys Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; additional reporting by Pawel Florkiewicz; editing by Jason Neely