German insurance giant Allianz today said its net profits soared by 60% in the first quarter of 2012 and confirmed its full-year targets.

Net profits rose to €1.37 billion in the first three months of the year on flat turnover of just over €30 billion, the group said.

This was slightly better than analysts had expected.

The sharp increase in profits was based in part on a particularly weak first quarter of 2011, during which natural catastrophes including the earthquake and tsunami in Japan weighed on results

"Allianz has put in a very good performance this quarter, following 2011 that was tough for the entire insurance industry," said Oliver Baete, the firm's chief financial officer.

"Despite the ongoing sovereign debt crisis, volatile markets and low interest rates, we continue to expect an operating profit for 2012 of €8.2 billion, plus or minus €0.5 billion," Baete added.