The first quarter of 2021 was very significant for Taaleri and for the future of the company. We announced that we were selling our wealth management operations to Aktia Bank Plc, presented our revised strategy and held the first Capital Markets Day in the history of the company, which turned out to be a delightfully popular event. In future, our growth will be driven by private equity funds focusing on renewable energy and other alternative investments. Our vision is to be a Nordic forerunner in alternative investments focusing on sustainability.
The transaction of the wealth management operations was completed as planned after the review period on 30 April for the purchase price of EUR 120 million. As a result of the transaction, Taaleri will recognise a capital gain of approximately EUR 110 million. Following the execution of the transaction, we invited our shareholders to an extraordinary general meeting to decide on the distribution of additional dividend to our shareholders. Taaleri’s Board of Directors’ proposal on the distribution of funds is EUR 1.00 per share. According to our updated dividend policy, we will distribute to our shareholders at least 50 per cent of the profit for the financial year and the capital that the company does not need for growth investments or to fulfil its targets for solvency.
We can be very satisfied with Taaleri’s first quarter amid the major changes underway. The Group’s continuing earnings grew to EUR 8.9 (8.4) million and income increased to EUR 13.7 (-0.8) million. The operating profit of continuing operations was EUR 5.1 (-7.5) million, corresponding to 37 per cent of income.
The business operations of the Private Asset Management segment’s largest business Renewable energy developed steadily during the review period and fund projects progressed on schedule. The continuing earnings were lower than in the comparison period due to the closing of the SolarWind II fund during the comparison period. The final closing of the SolarWind II fund, which will take place during the second quarter, was prepared during the review period.
During the first quarter, our real estate business focused on growing our investment period funds and preparing the divestment of funds in the exit phase. We were also preparing for the Aktia transaction, as a result of which the assets managed by the real estate business grew as we expanded our operations to external portfolio management mandates.
In our new bioindustry business, we focused on starting operations, preparing the first fund and identifying future projects. Our goal is to launch the fund in the second half of the year. Furthermore, the infrastructure business transferred to Taaleri as a part of the Aktia transaction is preparing its first fund, which is planned to be launched already during the second quarter.
Garantia Insurance Company Ltd, which forms our Strategic Investments segment, continued its solid business operations in accordance with its own strategy. Investment returns that had been hard-hit by the pandemic during the comparison period increased significantly, but the net income from guaranty insurance operations also grew. The latter was affected by the opening of a new distribution channel in October 2020, which significantly increased the residential mortgage guaranty portfolio and, as a result, the earned premiums. The combined ratio describing the financial performance of insurance operations was at a very good level at 38.6 per cent.
The first quarter of the wealth management operations, included in discontinued operations, was strong. The continuing earnings from wealth management grew by 6.3 per cent to EUR 8.0 (7.6) million, and the income grew by 29.8 per cent to EUR 11.3 (8.7) million. The operating profit increased by 58.0 per cent to EUR 3.5 (2.2) million, including the direct expenses pertaining to the sale of the wealth management operations.
I am very excited to work together with all our employees, investors, partners and shareholders to steer Taaleri ahead in our new phase of development. At the same time, we are upholding the values and principles that are close to our hearts. Through our operations, we channel capital towards economically profitable undertakings that have a lasting positive impact on the environment and society at large. We know from experience that sustainability and profitability thrive side by side. We believe that they will become increasingly linked in the coming years.