Higher income from premiums has helped Italian insurer Ras Holdings to achieve a 25% improvement in profits in the first half of 2006, compared to the same period last year, prompting the company to be optimistic about its full-year prospects ahead of its merger with Allianz.

The company’s net income for H1 2006 was E593 million, representing substantial improvement on the E475 million figure for the first six months of 2005. Premiums written rose nearly 2%, amounting to just over E9 billion, with non-life premiums accounting for almost E5 billion and non-life premiums accounting for just over E4 billion.

The company said that profits benefited from the improved technical result of its non-life business and increased net investment income.

The results achieved in the first half of this year appear to confirm that – unless any unexpected events occur in the markets – the group activities in Italy and abroad will be consistent with the profitability targets stated for the year 2006, with a substantial improvement over the previous year, said the company in statement.

After the merger with Munich-based insurance giant Allianz, which is planned to be completed later this year, Ras and its subsidiaries will focus on its Italian activities, which showed a particularly positive trend in the first half of the year.