Geneva- Swiss Re, the world' second largest re-insurer, reported Thursday a first quarter profit of 150 million Swiss francs (132 million dollars). In the same period last year, the company made 600 million francs.
"We are pleased to report that Swiss Re was able to return to profit in the first quarter of 2009," CEO Stefan Lippe said in a statement.
Positive foreign exchange movements of 1.4 billion francs helped the re-insurer offset unrealized investment losses of 2.1 billion francs.
Swiss Re announced net losses in 2008 of 864 million francs and incurred 5.9 billion francs in writedowns on assets, following the financial crisis.
The company said it would reduce its risk positions and rebuild a stronger capital base.
It had a positive outlook for the rest of the year, noting it expected "increased demand and reduced capacity in the re-insurance market" which would drive prices higher.
Earlier this year, Swiss Re announced it would cut 10 per cent of its workforce as part of measures to save 400 million francs.
The economic downturn sent the re-insurer to seek capital from Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, selling it convertible bonds worth 3 billion francs. The Swiss company has shaken up its senior management in recent months.(dpa)