Great Eastern Q4 net profit up 5% to S$218.8m

Insurance group Great Eastern office at the Westgate Tower in Jurong.
Insurance group Great Eastern office at the Westgate Tower in Jurong. PHOTO: GREAT EASTERN HOLDINGS

SINGAPORE - Great Eastern Holdings reported a 5 per cent rise to S$218.8 million in its net profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31 from S$207.8 million a year ago.

The group's profit from its insurance business rose 18 per cent to S$239.6 million for the quarter but this was laregly offset by a S$1.1 million loss in shareholders' fund's investments compared to a year-ago profit of S$48.6 million.

This loss was mainly due to realised losses from sale of investments, a decline in the fair value of assets and impairment provision of S$13.4 million.

For the full year, earnings fell 11 per cent to S$785.4 million from S$878.6 million, mainly because of unrealised mark-to-market losses from the valuation of the assets and liabilities of its insurance business.

Looking ahead, Great Eastern said its performance in the current financial year may be affected by mark-to-market valuation of its assets and liabilities due to volatility in the financial markets arising from uncertainties over potential further US interest rate hikes and concerns over the slowing down of the global economy.

It declared a final dividend of 40 cents per share plus a special dividend of five cents per share. Including a 10 cent per share interim payout in September, Great Eastern's total dividend for 2015 will be 55 cents per share, in line with the payout for 2014.