Sumitomo Marine & Fire Insurance Co. and Mitsui Marine & Fire Insurance Co. — two major nonlife insurers scheduled to merge in October — on Wednesday reported higher group profits for fiscal 2000.

Sumitomo Marine announced a consolidated net profit of 14.44 billion yen for the year that ended March 31, up 11.6 percent from the previous year, despite a decline in revenues and pretax profit.

The major nonlife insurer said the increase stemmed from a surge in extraordinary profits to 1.04 billion yen from 437 million yen due to the disposal of real estate and other property, plus a cutback in special losses.

Consolidated net profit per share was 21.61 yen, up from 19.15 yen the previous year.

Sumitomo Marine said its group pretax profit dropped 28.5 percent to 34.18 billion yen on a 2.1 percent decline in revenues to 914.08 billion yen.

For the first half of the current business year to March 2002, Sumitomo Marine expects to post a consolidated net profit of 8.5 billion yen, or 12.82 yen per share, and a consolidated pretax profit of 16 billion yen on revenues of 470 billion yen.

The nonlife insurer did not release earnings forecasts for the full business year because it is due to merge with Mitsui Marine & Fire Insurance Co. on Oct. 1 to create Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. Meanwhile, Mitsui Marine & Fire Insurance Co. announced it racked up a consolidated net profit of 15.45 billion yen in the year ended March 31, up 48.2 percent from the previous year.

The major nonlife insurer attributed the surge in group net profit in the just-ended year to a good showing by its life insurance subsidiary, Mitsui Mirai Life Insurance Co.

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