(Recasts lead, adds forecast, CFO comment)
MILAN, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Italy's biggest insurer, Generali , kept its guidance unchanged on Thursday after posting a 9.9 percent drop in nine-month profits due to a loss on the sale of its Dutch business.
Profits for the period totalled 1.463 billion euros ($1.7 billion), roughly in line with what Generali said was a consensus market forecast of 1.427 billion euros. The result included a 253 million euros net loss on the sale of the Dutch unit this year.
Generali, which has more than 500 billion euros in invested assets, is looking to shrink its global footprint by selling businesses in some 13 countries to raise 1 billion euros.
The insurer wants to use the proceeds to help fund an expansion of asset management operations and beef up fee-based business, especially in core markets Italy, France and Germany.
"The results confirm our excellent trend ... we can confirm our target of paying out 5 billion euros of dividends (from 2017) to 2019," Chief Financial Officer Luigi Lubelli told reporters a conference call.
Operating profits in the first nine months were flat on the year at 3.6 billion euros, after a 70 million euros rise in natural catastrophe claims.
Europe's third-largest insurer said it would take around 80 million euros in restructuring costs this year at its German business, which it is overhauling ahead of a possible sale of its life insurance portfolio there.
Generali, controlled by influential investment bank Mediobanca, has a life insurance portfolio of 40 billion euros in Germany, its second-biggest market.
Lubelli confirmed the group was looking at a series of options for the portfolio.
Generali shares were little changed at 15.60 euros each after the result, in line with the benchmark European insurance index which was also flat.
($1 = 0.8618 euros) (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Mark Bendeich)