Expatica news

Zurich Financial profit falls 47 percent

ZURICH – Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services posted a sharp fall in full-year net profit Thursday, as its investments were affected by the unfavorable financial markets in the fourth quarter.

Net income fell 47 percent to USD 3.0 billion (CHF 3.4 billion, EUR 2.3 billion), while operating profit fell 23 percent to USD 5.2 billion.

The group said its net group investments fell 42 percent to USD 5.832 billion after the weakening of USD 2.5 billion on equities and debt securities.

Chief executive officer James Schiro issued a cautious outlook for 2009, saying that "rapidly deteriorating global economic environment" was unlikely to improve in the short-term.

"Looking forward, we do not see significant improvements in the economic environment in the near term, but our strong balance sheet, operational capabilities and well-balanced portfolio of businesses position us well to continue executing on our strategy", he said.

[AFP / Expatica]