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Allianz swings to quarterly profit in rebound from funds debacle

FILE PHOTO: The logo of insurer Allianz SE is seen on the company building in Puteaux at the financial and business district of La Defense near Paris

By Tom Sims and Alexander Hübner

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's Allianz on Friday swung to a fourth-quarter net profit, rebounding after taking big charges a year earlier for a U.S. funds scandal and as a higher investment margin boosted its life and health insurance business.

But its asset management division - which includes bond giant PIMCO - saw lower revenues and fees as total assets under management dropped 18% during the year.

Its shares dropped 3.2% in morning trade in Frankfurt, though analysts at DZ Bank, who rate the company a "buy", said the results were overall "good".

The bounce-back in profit marked a return to business as usual for Allianz, which has been trying to restore its reputation after one of its funds units, Allianz Global Investors, was dogged with a fraud case in the United States that resulted in $6 billion in settlements and fines in May.

Graphic: Allianz results-

"Allianz has consolidated its position as one of the world's largest, most resilient, and trusted global financial institutions," Chief Executive Officer Oliver Baete said.

Net profit attributable to shareholders of 2.007 billion euros ($2.13 billion) in the three months through December compares with a loss of 292 million euros a year earlier. Analysts had expected a net profit of 2.034 billion euros.

On top of the $6 billion in fines and settlements announced last year, Allianz agreed to a guilty plea for its U.S. Allianz Global Investors (AGI) business that oversaw the funds at the center of the fraud. Allianz's own lawyers described the plea as the equivalent of a "death penalty", and AGI had to shut its U.S. operations.

A global insurer, Allianz ranks as one of the world's biggest money managers, but its assets under management dropped 18% to 2.1 trillion euros in 2022 from 2021, figures on Friday showed.

Allianz said the decline was mainly because of market developments, though outflows resulting from the closure of its U.S. AGI business also played a role.

Asset management was the only major division at Allianz that saw a drop in 2022 operating profit from a year earlier.

($1 = 0.9403 euros)

(Reporting by Tom Sims and Alexander Huebner; editing by Rachel More, Jacqueline Wong and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)