Portugal: Espirito Santo pension premiums surge

PORTUGAL – Portuguese financial group Espirito Santo Financial Group says that private pension premiums at its life arm rose 78.1% in the first quarter.

Lisbon-based Espirto Santo said in a statement that its life division Companhia de Seguros Tranquilidade Vida, or Tranquilidade Vida, swung to a profit of 5.3 million euros in the first quarter, from a loss in the prior year of 15.0 million euros.

“During the same period, premiums increased 24.8%, with particular emphasis on private pension plans, where premiums grew 78.1%,” it said.

It added that the recovery in Tranquilidade Vida's results “derive mostly from changes introduced in Tranquilidade Vida's investment portfolio”.

The non-life business also swung to profit from a loss. Companhia de Seguros Tranquilidade posted a 12.0 million euro profit, against an 8.8 million euro loss last time.

“This result reflects Tranquilidade's return to profitability after the losses incurred in the course of 2001.” It put recovery down to “a significant improvement in technical margins”.

According to consultancy firm Watson Wyatt, Portuguese pension funds returned a negative 3.3% in 2002, while the European Commission has said there is scope for the development of private pension provision.

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