Global reinsurance giant Munich Re posted a seven-fold rise in net profits for Q4, helped by reviving financial markets.
Quarterly net profit was €780m, up from €105m in Q4 2008, and ahead of the €608m average forecast in an analysts poll.
Earlier this week, investment guru Warren Buffett upped his stake in the company. He now owns, directly or indirectly, more than 5% of the voting rights in Munich Re, after taking options on 1.945% of its capital in addition to a previous stake of 3.08% owned by his investment fund Berkshire Hathaway.
The reinsurer said in a statement it profited from exceptionally-low claims costs for natural catastrophes.
Gross premiums written by the Group in the financial year 2009 rose slightly less than 10% to €41.4bn.
Analysts expect demand for reinsurance by primary insurers will rise in response to new Solvency II capital requirements for the sector.
The full implementation of Solvency II for European insurers, including a revised set of EU-wide risk management standards to replace the current Solvency I requirements, is not due until 2012.
However, clarification on the rules is expected by mid-2010 and reinsurers are being cited as the potential winners from the change due to increased demand, particularly from smaller companies and mutuals.
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