Munich Re withdraws profit guidance due to coronavirus claims

The logo of reinsurance company Munich Re Group

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Munich Re <MUVGn.DE> on Tuesday withdrew its profit guidance for the year, blaming heavy insurance claims triggered by the cancellation of large events which were banned as a way to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Munich Re said claims made to its property-casualty reinsurance segment had caused it to anticipate profits in the low three-digit million euro range for the first three months of 2020.

Last year, the reinsurer posted first-quarter profits of 633 million euros.

As a result the company's annual guidance will suffer.

"Munich Re will not attain its profit guidance of 2.8 billion euros (2.48 billion pounds) for 2020 as a whole," the reinsurer said in a statement on Tuesday.

A share buyback programme slated for the 2020/2021 period will be discontinued until further notice, it said.

Even after the impact of capital-market and loss developments, Munich Re’s solvency ratio is still comfortably within the communicated optimal range of 175% to 220% of the requirement and the company plans to pay a dividend of 9.80 euros per share.

($1 = 0.9104 euros)

(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Arno Schuetze and Ken Ferris)