Insurer Great Eastern posts 26% fall in Q4 net profit

Insurer Great Eastern has reported a 26 per cent drop in its fourth-quarter net profit over the previous year to $165.9 million. -- BT FILE PHOTO: ARTHUR LEE CH 
Insurer Great Eastern has reported a 26 per cent drop in its fourth-quarter net profit over the previous year to $165.9 million. -- BT FILE PHOTO: ARTHUR LEE CH 

Insurer Great Eastern has reported a 26 per cent drop in its fourth-quarter net profit over the previous year to $165.9 million.

The decline came as profit for its insurance business fell 23 per cent from a year ago to $172.1 million for the three months ended Dec 31.

Great Eastern said on Friday that its earnings for the quarter were impacted by two one-off items.

One is that the insurer changed the timing of its terminal bonus recognition during the period, which led to a drag on earnings.

Another is the gains from tax provisions in the fourth quarter of 2012, which resulted in a higher base for comparison.

If the one-off items were excluded, the insurer said it would have registered "healthy year-on-year growth", though it did not specify numbers.

Profit for the full year was 43 per cent lower over a year ago at $674.8 million. The fall was partly due to one-off disposal gains from the sale of its stakes in Asia Pacific Breweries and Fraser & Neave in 2012.

Great Eastern said its operating profit from its insurance business rose 12 per cent for the full year to $559.6 million, on the back of better performance across all its life assurance funds.

That helped total weighted new sales rise 27 per cent to $1.04 billion.

Great Eastern chief executive Chris Wei said on Friday: "Besides sales that crossed the billion dollar mark, we also registered a steadily improving new business embedded value."

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