February 28, 2020 / 6:50 AM / 3 months ago

Swiss Life boosts dividend, starts share buyback

FILE PHOTO: The logo of insurer Swiss Life is seen on the roof of its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd WIegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss Life (SLHN.S) proposed increasing its dividend by more than a fifth to 20 Swiss francs a share and unveiled on Friday a share buyback worth up to 400 million Swiss francs (£315 million) as it reported a 12% rise in 2019 net profit.

Fee income rose 16% in local currency last year, helping power the rise in net profit to 1.2 billion Swiss francs.

Swiss Life Asset Managers posted net new assets of 8.92 billion in its third-party business. Third-party assets under management rose 17% to 83.0 billion at year’s end.

The value of new business increased 45% to 561 million francs, while the new business margin slipped to 1.9% from 2.6% the year before, it said.

It did not provide a detailed outlook for 2020, but Chief Executive Patrick Frost said:

“Last year’s extraordinarily strong increase in premiums was attributable to single premiums due to the withdrawal of a competitor from the full insurance business in Switzerland. We therefore expect premiums to decline in the current year.”

Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Thomas Seythal

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