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Allianz's predicted profit slumps

Allianz, the biggest insurer in Europe, has registered a big fall in profits in its first quarter results.

The financial firm said that its net income was $1.7 billion for the three months - 66 per cent down on the year-on-year total.

This is also below the figure agreed on by a recent poll of industry experts conducted by news agency Bloomberg - which predicted earnings around $300 million higher.

Allianz has been badly hit since the beginning of the credit crunch last summer, writing off around $900 billion in bad debt securities over the period.

Nevertheless, manager at the firm Helmut Perlet said in a statement that he was hopeful that the financial crisis would abate and that long term Allianz targets would be met.

"We consider our medium-term targets for 2009 to be still feasible, even though this will become harder the longer the financial crisis will last", he commented.

Mr Perlet also said that the drop in profits at the firm was due to the currently "disadvantageous" state of the stock markets, when compared with that of the first quarter of 2007.