Allianz SE, Europe’s biggest insurer, said third-quarter profit dropped 15 percent as earnings at its property and casualty and asset management units declined.
Net income fell to 1.36 billion euros ($1.48 billion) from 1.61 billion euros a year earlier, the Munich-based company said in a statement on Friday. That missed the 1.52 billion-euro average of nine analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
European insurers are generating less revenue amid pricing pressure and low interest rates while claims from natural catastrophes and over the mid-August explosions in the Chinese city of Tianjin have dented earnings across the industry. The German company’s two investment businesses have also seen upheaval after the departure of Bill Gross from the company’s Pimco unit in September last year and a change at the top of the Allianz Global Investors unit last month.
The company’s performance in the quarter “will inevitably temper the excitement building ahead of its investor day” this month, Barclays Plc analysts Andy Broadfield and Aayushi Pabari wrote in an e-mailed report. They have an underweight rating on the stock.
Allianz was down 2.4 percent at 155.30 euros at 11:32 a.m. in Frankfurt trading, the biggest decline in more than six weeks. The shares have risen about 13 percent this year, giving the company a market value of about 71 billion euros, while the Bloomberg Europe 500 Insurance Index has added 11 percent.
Allianz confirmed its forecast for 2015 operating profit, saying it will probably be at the upper end of its range of between 10 billion euros and 10.8 billion euros.
“We’re actually very proud to have achieved this result because the main impact of the numbers comes from the volatility in the financial market,” Chief Financial Officer Dieter Wemmer said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “In asset management, we are dropping since quite some time, I think you all remember the Pimco outflows, but here we also see the first green shoots.”
Operating profit at all three of the company’s operating units fell in the quarter. The biggest decline was in asset management, where earnings dropped 14 percent to 600 million euros due to outflows, according to the insurer’s filings.
Allianz said third-party net outflows from the unit slowed to 14.8 billion euros in the quarter from 47.4 billion euros a year earlier. Pimco had net outflows of 16 billion euros while Allianz Global Investors recorded 1.3 billion euros of net inflows.
Operating profit from the property and casualty division, the company’s largest business, fell 5 percent to 1.35 billion euros on a lower investment result and weaker underwriting earnings. Losses from natural catastrophes jumped to 144 million euros from 7 million euros, Allianz said.
The property/casualty division combined ratio came in for the quarter at 94.1, a deterioration of 0.6 percentage points. Gross P/C premiums written grew by 2.4 percent, with particular gains coming from emerging markets such as Turkey and Australia.
At its investor day, Allianz will probably present a strategy that will include “a subtle shift in focus to return on capital from growth in operating earnings,” the Barclays analysts wrote. “With margins plateauing and perhaps worsening, bottom line growth is a serious challenge for the industry, so perhaps better to focus on the utilization of capital rather than growth.”
–With assistance from Chris Malpass in Berlin.
*Carrier Management added additional data concerning the Allianz P/C combined ratio and gross premiums written.