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Zurich: posts rise in 2018 profit; dividend also up

( - Zurich Insurance posted a rise in 2018 earnings on Thursday, and said it was "well on track" to fully achieve its 2019 targets.

The company reported net income of 3.7 billion dollars for the full-year 2018, compared to 3 billion dollars in 2017. Its business operating profit rose to 4.6 billion euros, from 3.8 billion dollars a year earlier.

Citing its positive earnings outlook, the Swiss-based insurer, which already has the highest dividend yield in Switzerland, will propose a dividend increase of approximately 6% to 19 Swiss francs per share.

In a note to clients, analysts at UBS said the 2018 results were "solid overall," but only up to a point.

"That said, there is no (share) buy-back and the 2019 combined ratio (CoR) ambition looks some way off," the broker said, seeing a "slight negative" overall.

Despite this, the market reacted positively to the news, with the Zurich Insurance share up 0.7% on the SIX Swiss Exchange market this morning.

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