Great Eastern Q3 profit up 40% to $287.9 million

Operating profit slipped 4 per cent to $171.4 million, from $178.5 million a year earlier.
Operating profit slipped 4 per cent to $171.4 million, from $178.5 million a year earlier.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Great Eastern Holdings on Wednesday (Nov 4) posted a 40 per cent rise in net profit to $287.9 million for the third quarter ended Sept 30, from $205.1 million a year ago.

The insurance arm of OCBC said this was mainly due to the higher valuation of investments, on the back of improved financial market conditions during the quarter.

Operating profit slipped 4 per cent to $171.4 million, from $178.5 million a year earlier. This was due to greater new business strain resulting from higher sales in Singapore, Great Eastern said.

Meanwhile, non-operating profit came in at $50 million for the third quarter, reversing from a loss of $31.3 million in the preceding year.

Profit from shareholders' fund rose 20 per cent to $74.9 million, from $62.3 million a year ago, due to higher mark-to-market gains from equities, the insurer noted.

In addition, a pick-up of activity across all markets led to a 36 per cent growth in total weighted new sales to $432.8 million, from $317.5 million in the year-ago period.

Amid higher sales, new business embedded value edged up 2 per cent to $160.2 million, from $157.4 million in the corresponding period last year.

Group chief executive officer Khor Hock Seng said Great Eastern's focus on strengthening its distribution capabilities paid off in the first nine months of the year. He noted that the group was able to adapt in the current operating environment capitalising on the digital and technology infrastructure provided by Great Eastern, which contributed to higher sales.

The group now has an agency force size of more than 30,000 financial representatives across the region, said Mr Khor.

He added: "We are committed to boosting hiring and offering opportunities amid employment uncertainties. In Singapore, we have hired more than 1,000 financial representatives, welcoming recruits from a range of diverse backgrounds, such as fresh graduates and mid-career individuals."

Great Eastern shares closed flat at $17.78 on Tuesday.