Great Eastern's Q3 profit soars 185% $195m

Great Eastern's Q3 profit soars 185% $195m

Insurer Great Eastern Holdings' third-quarter earnings soared 185 per cent on higher operating profit and favourable financial market conditions.

Net profit for the three months to Sept 30 was $195 million, an improvement from the same period last year, when the insurer was hit by a weaker stock market and reduced interest rates.

Great Eastern, a unit of OCBC Bank, said in a statement yesterday that this was mainly owing to higher profit from the insurance business and shareholders' fund investments.

Profit from the insurance business rose 151 per cent to $171.1 million, owing to a higher contribution from the investment-linked fund in its Malaysia business.

Profit from shareholders' fund investments was up 66 per cent to $64.2 million, mainly due to higher net investment income and realised gains from the sale of investments.

The insurer said this was partly offset by lower foreign exchange gains from US dollar-denominated investments. Operating profits in the quarter increased 6 per cent to $136.7 million from last year, with contributions from both the Singapore and Malaysia businesses.

Gross premiums slid 8 per cent to $2.34 billion. Total weighted new sales came in at $266.9 million, from $267.4 million, year on year.

New business embedded value - a measure of long-term economic profitability - rose 29 per cent to $135.3 million.

Great Eastern group chief executive Khor Hock Seng said: "Given the current macroeconomic environment, we expect markets to remain volatile. Our strong capital position and fundamentals, coupled with the resilience of our business model, will enable us to seize opportunities for further growth."

Third-quarter earnings per share stood at 41 cents, up from 15 cents a year earlier, while net asset value per share was $13.69 as at Sept 30, up from $13.16 as at Dec 31.

Great Eastern shares closed 11 cents higher at $20.41 yesterday.

This article was first published on October 27, 2016.
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