VIG to enter Montenegro

Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) has been granted a concession to offer life insurances in Montenegro.The company said today (Weds) the decision meant it was now active in 24 European countries.VIG, which is listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange (WBAG), explained its subsidiary Wiener Städtische zivotno osiguranje Podgorica a.d. will handle operations in the former Yugoslav country.VIG’s net profit soared by 9.2 per cent from the first six months of 2009 to 194.4 million Euros during the same period this year. Its profit before taxes rose by 11 per cent to 255.6 million Euros. Analysts had expected profit before taxes to rise by just 6.5 to 8.3 per cent year on year.Firm chief Günter Geyer warned earlier this year customers would have to bear the brunt if the Austrian government coalition failed to change its mind on setting up a bank tax which will also affect insurers next year.Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the People’s Party (ÖVP) announced the new levy should help them to an extra 500 million Euros in takings from 2011 as the coalition is forced to restore the state budget.The government refused to make clear whether the tax will also affect insurance firms, stressing that negotiations with financial market representatives were ongoing.Business newspapers are currently speculating SPÖ and ÖVP could back from previously announced plans to issue new and higher taxes as think tanks said the Austrian economy’s recovery might occur sooner than expected.