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Allianz Q2 profit takes a dive

The German insurance giant Allianz said on Friday that its second-quarter net profit plunged by 45.6 percent from the same period a year earlier to €1.02 billion.

Allianz Q2 profit takes a dive
Photo: DPA

The quarter rounded out a first half that was “marked by exceptionally high natural catastrophe losses,” a statement quoted chief executive Michael Diekmann as saying.

The group said the fall also stemmed from “a low level of harvesting” compared with the same period a year earlier, when Allianz booked a high level of gains on investments in stocks, debt securities and real estate.

It reported a gain of €181 million for that line this year, against €959 million in the second quarter of 2009.

Allianz’s operating profit this year gained 22.7 percent, however, to €2.19 billion, while sales were 14.5 percent higher at €25.4 billion, it said.

For the first six months of 2010, the insurer made an operating profit of €3.9 billion, allowing Diekmann to confirm its full-year forecast.

“We are confident that we can achieve our outlook for operating profit for the entire year of around €7.2 billion, with a fluctuation range of plus or minus €500 million,” he said.

Breaking down the data, Allianz said second-quarter gross premiums, the industry’s term for sales, in its property and casualty division had gained 4.5 percent on the year to €10 billion.

Claims from natural disasters in the quarter amounted to €255 million meanwhile.

Sales in the life and health insurance division gained 20 percent to €14.1 billion.

The group’s asset management unit more than doubled its operating profit to €516 million from €246 million a year earlier.

Division chief Oliver Bäte said: “With positive net inflows for six consecutive quarters, we are succeeding in growing our asset management business into a real performance engine.

“The contribution of this business to Allianz Group net income has grown significantly over time and accounted for 21.2 percent in the second quarter.”

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EARNINGS

Despite emissions scandal, Volkswagen clinches record sales

German carmaker Volkswagen said Wednesday it sold a record number of vehicles in 2017, putting it on track to hold on to the title of world's largest carmaker two years after its "dieselgate" emissions scandal.

Despite emissions scandal, Volkswagen clinches record sales
Photo: DPA

Some 10.74 million vehicles from VW or its subsidiaries ranging from Porsche and Audi to Skoda and Seat rolled out of dealerships last year – an increase of 4.3 percent over the previous year, the carmaker said.

“We are grateful to our customers for the trust these figures reflect,” chief executive Matthias Müller said in a statement.

VW's sales look likely to outstrip Japanese rival Toyota's, whose annual figure for last year is expected to stand at around 10.35 million units.

Nevertheless, the Wolfsburg-based group is still facing a growing challenge from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, which is targeting 10.5 million combined shipments in 2017.

VW's strong performance underlines its recovery from the blow it was dealt two years ago, when it admitted in September 2015 to cheating regulators' emissions tests on millions of diesel cars worldwide.

It has since begun to rebuild its reputation in some of the world's most important markets, with Chinese sales adding 5.1 percent to 4.2 million vehicles last year and US sales rising 5.8 percent to 625,000 vehicles.

Growth was more spectacular in South America, at 23.7 percent, but sales only reached 522,000 units in absolute terms.

Meanwhile, sales in Central and Eastern Europe including Russia rose by 13.2 percent to 745,000 vehicles.

But growth in Western Europe was more sluggish, with shipments up 1.4 percent at 3.6 million units.

Looking to the group's different brands, generalist VW booked an increase of 4.2 percent to 6.2 million units, while Skoda added 6.6 percent to 1.2 million and Seat 14.6 percent to 468,000 units.

Luxury Porsche shipped 246,000 cars, up 3.6 percent on the year, while Audi fell behind high-end rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz with 0.6-percent growth to 1.9 million sales.

Truckmaking units MAN and Scania both reported 11.6-percent growth.

Looking to the future, Müller said VW was making “decisive investments in the mobility of tomorrow”.

VW announced in November that it would invest more than 34 billion euros ($41 billion) in  future vehicles and technologies – such as electric and hybrid cars, autonomous driving and digitalisation – by 2022.