Mapfre SA, Spain’s largest insurer, cut its annual dividend and posted a 32 percent drop in quarterly net profit as income from premiums fell. The shares fell [on Feb. 10] to the lowest since August 2012.
The Madrid-based insurer proposed a dividend of 0.13 euros a share for 2015, down from 0.14 euros a year earlier, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday. Fourth-quarter net profit fell to 117.5 million euros ($132 million) from 172.3 million euros, after provisions rose and profit declined in its two biggest markets, Mapfre said in the statement.
The shares dropped as much as 4.7 percent and were down 2.1 percent at 1.75 euros at 9:54 a.m. in Madrid trading. They have fallen 24 percent this year.
Mapfre’s Chairman Antonio Huertas wants to improve the insurer’s efficiency and profitability by exiting some businesses, increasing prices and raising provisions in units including its domestic Spanish market. The insurer has been hit by the fall in value of the Brazilian real and its unit there, the company’s second largest, posted a 47 percent decline in net profit in the three months through December from a year earlier.
Net profit in Mapfre’s main market of Iberia, which includes Spain and Portugal, dropped 20 percent to 78.6 million euros in the same period. Total premiums across the company dropped 7.4 percent to 4.97 billion euros.
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