May 15, 2018 / 5:21 AM / 9 months ago

Allianz first quarter profit up 6.8 percent on investments, lower taxes

The logo of insurer Allianz SE is seen on the company building in Puteaux at the financial and business district of La Defense near Paris, outside Paris, France, May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German insurer Allianz (ALVG.DE) said it was on track to meet its 2018 goals as it posted a forecast-beating 6.8 percent rise in first quarter net profit, lifted by higher investment results and lower tax rates.

Net profit of 1.939 billion euros (1.7 billion pounds) was better than the 1.787 billion euros forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll and above the 1.816 billion euros earned during the same period last year.

Allianz and the insurance industry is bouncing back from a difficult 2017 that was marked by a spate of natural disasters in North America which resulted in record payouts to customers.

“This good performance puts Allianz on track to meet its 2018 yearly targets,” said Oliver Baete, chief executive officer of Allianz.

Baete said last week operating profit would be similar to the 11.1 billion euros the insurer posted in 2017, or possibly 500 million euros more or less than that.

He also said that Allianz was cautious in its outlook given global economic uncertainties and the strong euro.

The combined ratio, a measure of profitability, improved in the first quarter by 0.8 percentage point to 94.8 percent. Allianz also said that lower restructuring costs helped its bottom line in the quarter.

Reporting by Tom Sims; Editing by Edward Taylor

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