March 14, 2014 / 10:23 AM / 4 years ago

Allianz points to possible dividend hike

FRANKFURT, March 14 (Reuters) - German insurer Allianz hinted at a higher dividend payout on Friday, pledging to review its policy of paying 40 percent of net profit as a dividend after criticisms its dividend for 2013 had fallen short of expectations.

Allianz raised its dividend for 2013 by 0.80 euros to 5.30 euros per share, which was exactly in line with the median forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.

“In 2014, we will re-evaluate our target payout ratio of 40 percent,” Europe’s biggest insurer said in its annual report published on Friday.

Allianz has traditionally aimed to dedicate 20 percent of net income to invest in its existing operations, 20 percent to fund takeovers, 20 percent to purchase real assets and 40 percent to the dividend.

However, Allianz also said in a Feb. 27 conference call with analysts that it had heard comments that the 5.30 dividend proposed for 2013 had fallen short of expectations.

“The dividend policy will be driven by investment opportunities in the market, the cash flows produced, and nothing else,” Allianz board member Maximilian Zimmerer told the conference call, underscoring that the company’s regulatory capital solvency ratio did not pose a hurdle for the dividend.

Allianz on Friday reiterated its full year goal of earning operating profit of 10 billion euros this year, with its standard caveat that the goal vary by 500 million euros above or below the target depending on market volatility and natural catastrophe claims.

It earned operating profit of 10.07 billion euros in 2013. (Reporting by Jonathan Gould; Editing by Thomas Atkins and Toby Chopra)

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