Great Eastern Holdings (GE), the insurance arm of OCBC Bank, yesterday posted a net profit of $237.6 million for its second quarter ended June 30, up 3 per cent from $231.6 million a year ago.
Gross premiums rose by 33 per cent to $3.26 billion. Earnings per share came in at 51 cents, 4.1 per cent higher than in the same period last year.
The increase in earnings for the quarter was mainly due to higher profit from shareholders' funds investments, which grew 40 per cent to $69.1 million.
This was, however, offset by lower operating profit, which slipped by 3 per cent, and non-operating profit, which fell by 29 per cent, from GE's insurance business.
An interim dividend of 10 cents per share has been declared for the financial year ending Dec 31, which will be paid out on Aug 31.
For the quarter, the group's total weighted new sales was 28 per cent higher at $326.7 million, underpinned by growth in Singapore and Malaysia, GE said.
New business embedded value, which is a measure of long-term economic profitability, grew 8 per cent for the period to $139.5 million, due to higher sales.
AT A GLANCE
GROSS PREMIUMS: $3.26 billion (+33%)
NET PROFIT: $237.6 million (+3%)
INTERIM DIVIDEND PER SHARE: 10 cents (unchanged)
Commenting on GE's financial results, chief executive Khor Hock Seng said: "The group delivered robust growth in new sales during the quarter. Our positive Q2 2018 performance is the result of improved productivity of our distribution channels, and introduction of new products in our core markets."
For the half year to June 30, net profit was up 21 per cent to $390.5 million, mainly attributable to higher operating and non-operating profit compared with the same period last year.
Gross premiums were up 11 per cent at $5.7 billion, due to higher single premium sales in Singapore. In particular, operating profit from the group's insurance business registered 12 per cent growth to $312.3 million for the half-year period, while non-operating profit registered a gain of $13.9 million, a reversal from a loss of $55.2 million in the same period last year.
These were offset by a 32 per cent decrease to $70.1 million in profit from shareholders' funds investments for the six months to June 30.
On a per share basis, net profit for the first half came in at 83 cents, up 22.1 per cent from 68 cents in the year-ago period.
GE shares yesterday ended seven cents higher at $27.70.