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Business

Allianz Avoids Another Year in the Red

Michael Diekmann, head of Allianz, Europe's largest insurer that joined forces with Dresdner Bank to become the world's fourth largest financial group, on Thursday reported a net profit of €1.616 billion ($2 billion) for 2003. That followed a loss of €1.2 billion the previous year. Allianz's profit was largely credited to a €2.8 billion gain from the sale of a stake in Beiersdorf, the maker of Nivea skin cream. The windfall asset sale helped the insurer avoid another year in the red after its troubled Dresdner Bank unit turned in a second consecutive annual loss of over €1 billion. Diekmann admitted it would take time before the group managed to shake up Dresdner and pledged to boost profits by selling more loss-making business.