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Munich Re beats 2022 profit target with 74% fourth-quarter leap

Illustration shows a smartphone with displayed Munich Re Group logo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -German reinsurer Munich Re beat its full-year earnings target with a 16.7% gain despite Ukraine-related claims and after fourth-quarter net profit jumped by a better than expected 74% on equity disposals and lower tax payments.

Jefferies analysts described the results as a "remarkable achievement" given a challenging year featuring claims from Hurricane Ian in Florida, continued pandemic losses and high inflation.

The company's shares fell 3.7% in early trade, which JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank analysts attributed to profit-taking.

"Munich Re absorbed the crises of 2022 well," Chief Executive Joachim Wenning said.

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Fourth-quarter net profit rose to 1.516 billion euros ($1.61 billion), beating analyst expectations of 1.399 billion euros.

For the full year, its 3.419 billion euro profit beat both analyst and company expectations of about 3.3 billion euros.

Munich Re had announced on Wednesday that it would raise its dividend and buy back more shares.

Hurricane Ian and floods in Australia helped to make 2022 one of the costliest years on record for natural disasters, Munich Re said last month, warning that climate change was making storms more intense and frequent.

($1 = 0.9412 euros)

(Reporting by Tom Sims and Alexander HuebnerEditing by Miranda Murray and David Goodman)