February 23, 2018 / 6:28 AM / 4 months ago

Swiss Re weighs SoftBank deal as 2017 profit beats estimates

ZURICH, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Swiss Re reported better-than-expected annual net income on Friday despite huge claims during a disaster-heavy 2017 and said it was "carefully assessing" an investment approach from Japan's Softbank .

The world's second-biggest reinsurer posted net profit of $331 million, down from $3.56 billion a year earlier, but beating the average estimate of $119 million in a Reuters poll. It proposed raising its dividend and launching a new share buyback worth up to 1 billion Swiss francs ($1.07 billion).

Swiss Re had said this month it was in talks about SoftBank taking a minority stake in a deal that could be worth $10 billion or more.

On Friday it said there was no certainty any deal would be concluded. "Swiss Re's capital position remains very strong; the issuance of new capital is not under consideration," it said. ($1 = 0.9343 Swiss francs) (Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Michael Shields)

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