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Allianz shells out $143 million to shut US fund unit after fraud

Oliver Baete

(Reuters) — Allianz spent around €140 million ($143.11 million) on restructuring to wind down a U.S. funds unit at the center of a multibillion-dollar fraud, the German insurer disclosed Friday, an expense that added to a worse-than-expected 23% fall in quarterly profit.

Allianz in May agreed to shut down the unit, Allianz Global Investors in the United States, as part of a guilty plea for securities fraud and a $6 billion settlement with U.S. law enforcement and regulators. 

The charge, unveiled in its second-quarter earnings report, is a remnant of the fallout of the case, which has dogged the finances and reputation of one of Germany's most valuable companies for months.

The expense came on top of volatile markets that also dampened earnings. Net profit attributable to shareholders of €1.706 billion in the quarter missed a consensus forecast of €1.846 billion and was down from €2.225 billion in the year-earlier period.

Shares fell 2.5% midmorning in Frankfurt, among the biggest losers on the DAX index of blue-chip stocks.

But the insurer's target of 2022 operating profit of between €12.4 billion and €14.4 billion remains intact, the company said.

“We are well-positioned to manage the impact of high inflation and the economic pressures that are particularly evident in Europe,” CEO Oliver Baete said.

Volatile markets took a toll on Allianz in the quarter, prompting it to take a €282 million impairment charge and also contributing to a 12% drop in operating profit at its life and health division.

Analysts with Jefferies, which rate Allianz a “buy,” noted that the non-operating losses and corporate costs “were far higher than expected” and called the results a “mixed beat.”