British insurer RSA
RSA, Britain's biggest commercial insurer, said its 2011 operating profit rose 884 million pounds, narrowly beating the 844 million pounds pencilled in by analysts in a company poll.
We have delivered a good result in difficult conditions given record natural catastrophe losses for the industry, the challenging economic environment, and historically low yields, Chief Executive Simon Lee said in a statement.
RSA said it would raise its final dividend for the year by just 2 percent to 5.8 pence, blaming weak investment returns amid rock-bottom interest rates.
While these economic and investment markets persist, it is prudent to grow the dividend at a more modest rate, the company said.
RSA shares closed at 112.5 pence on Wednesday, valuing the company at about 4 billion pounds. The stock has lost about a fifth of its value in the past year, underperforming a 16 percent drop in the Stoxx 600 European insurance share index.
(Reporting by Myles Neligan; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)