UPDATE 2-Intact Financial profit boosted by M&A, investments

Wed Feb 6, 2013 1:28pm EST
 
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* Net investment gains at C$30 mln vs loss of C$7 mln a year ago

* Raises quarterly dividend by 10 pct to C$0.44 per share

* Profit tops estimates, but shares ease

By Cameron French

Feb 6 (Reuters) - Intact Financial Corp said fourth-quarter profit more than doubled, driven by rising investment gains and the impact of acquisitions, and the company's CEO indicated the company was in the market for more M&A.

Intact, Canada's largest property and casualty insurer, also raised its quarterly dividend by 10 percent.

Profits were helped by the insurer's C$530 million acquisition of recreational vehicle insurer Jevco, which closed in September and helped boost direct premiums written by 7 percent to C$1.7 billion during the fourth quarter.

"I do think that this is an environment that will present (acquisition) opportunities within a reasonable period of time, and on that basis there's no buyback activity at this stage," Intact Chief Executive Charles Brindamour said on a conference call, responding to a question about the company's capital allocation plans.

He said the company had close to C$600 million in excess capital.   Continued...