(Adds CEO’s quote, details of results)
OSLO, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Norwegian insurer Gjensidige posted better than expected fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday amid strong return on investments, and set an extra dividend on top of its normal payout to shareholders.
The company’s pretax profit rose to 1.73 billion Norwegian crowns ($192.6 million) from 1.66 billion a year ago, beating the average forecast of 1.42 billion in a Refinitiv poll of analysts.
Gjensidige will pay its owners a dividend of 12.25 crowns per share for 2019, of which 7.25 is considered regular payment and 5 crowns should be regarded as a special dividend, the company said.
Analysts had on average predicted a payout of 7.85 crowns.
“We are highly conscious of maintaining a strong capital discipline and strive to deliver attractive returns to our shareholders,” Chief Executive Helge Leiro Baastad said in a statement.
For the full year, Gjensidige’s net profit rose 77% to a record 6.59 billion crowns, thanks partly to the sale of its banking operation last March. ($1 = 8.9825 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Muralikumar Anantharaman)