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Scors 2018 profit increases despite blows from natural disasters



(Reuters) – The French reinsurance company Scor SE, which was the target of a disappeared acquisition of rival Covea Mutual Insurance Group Co. last year, an overall increase of 2018 showed a net income despite a loss in the fourth quarter caused by a slate of natural disasters.

Net income increased by 13% in 2018 to EUR 322 million ($ 365 million), while gross premiums increased by 3.2% to EUR 15.26 billion.

Only for the fourth quarter, Scor 20 million net loss after hurricanes in the US, typhoons in Japan and fires in California hit their business. That loss compared to a profit of EUR 261 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.

CEO Denis Kessler said that Scor managed "robust" growth and solid profitability during the year.

Scor also proposed a dividend of EUR 1

.75 per share, up from EUR 1.65 per share the previous year.

Referring to the insurer's Covea's unsuccessful attempt to take over Scor in the second half of 2018, Kessler repeated Scor intended to remain independent.

Unlisted cooperative insurer Covea, an increasingly assertive player in the French insurance market with broader European aspirations, announced an offer to Scor which valued the company over EUR 8 billion. Covea offered a 21% premium over Scor's market price.

Covea CEO Thierry Derez intends to create a major player in the European insurance market that can swallow smaller competitors as the industry consolidates.

Scor's Board rejected the offer for undervaluing companies. The opposition between the two CEOs escalated, and Scor eventually sued Derez for breach of trust.

Covea abandoned plans to buy Scor in late January.


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