July 13, 2018 / 11:22 AM / 7 months ago

Norwegian insurer Storebrand beats earnings forecast, shares gain

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway’s Storebrand (STB.OL) reported better than expected second-quarter results on Friday, driven by a strong performance in its insurance division, sending its shares higher.

Shares in Storebrand were up 2.4 percent at 0932 GMT, the best-performing stock on the Oslo benchmark index .OSEBX.

Although a slight drop from the previous year’s quarterly performance, group profit of 812 million crowns (75.94 million pounds)came in well above a forecast for 663 million crowns in a Reuters poll.

Its rival Gjensidige (GJFS.OL) reported below-forecast quarterly results that sent its shares lower on Friday.

“Storebrand delivers a solid Q2 report, mostly driven by core earnings and a better than expected Solvency 2 rate at 163 percent,” said Sparebank 1 Markets analyst Nils Christian Oeyen, who has a “Buy” recommendation on the stock.

The Solvency 2 rate is the amount of capital that insurers working in the European common market must hold to reduce the risk of insolvency. Storebrand’s current rate of 163 percent is above its minimum target of 150 percent.

Two out of three Storebrand divisions — insurance and guaranteed pensions — performed better than the Reuters poll forecast.

($1 = 8.1445 Norwegian crowns)

Reporting by Gwladys Fouche

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