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Ageas: first-quarter profit almost doubles on one-time item

( - Belgian insurance group Ageas said that its first-quarter net profit almost doubled, reflecting an exceptional non-cash one-off item, but warned against the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Net profit rose to 452 million euros in the first three months of the year, above the 251 million euros reported for the first quarter of 2019, the company said.

This was mainly due to the result of a tender on hybrid bond loans that was launched at the end of 2019, in a move intended to reduce its reliance on "grandfathered" capital instruments.

Ageas said the impact of the coronavirus on its insurance operations was "relatively limited" in the past quarter, both with respect to inflows and claims.

However, the company warned that a return to normal is unlikely to happen quickly.

With the impact of the pandemic most likely to affect performance and results throughout the year, Ageas said that it cannot confirm its profit guidance for 2020.

Its shares were just under water this morning, down 0.4% on Euronext Brussels.

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