Great Eastern Q1 net profit down 5%

SINGAPORE - Insurer Great Eastern's insurance business performed better and achieved higher profit from investments in the shareholders' fund in the first quarter.

It reported on Friday that net profit for the three months to Mar 31 slid 5 per cent to $220.5 million, compared with a year ago.

Excluding the one-off gain from the year ago, net profit was 9 per cent higher.

Acting group chief executive Norman Ip said in a statement: "The group has continued to deliver growth in profit from insurance business. Operating profit was higher and there were higher unrealised mark-to-market gains from equity investments."

First-quarter profit from investments in the shareholders' fund fell 34 per cent to $45.6 million.

Great Eastern said there was a one-off gain of $31.9 million - pre-tax - from the sale of part of its stake in its China joint venture.

Excluding that, profit from investments in the shareholders' fund was higher, owing to translation gains from United States dollar denominated assets.