Great Eastern's Q1 profit jumps to $342.7m

Great Eastern's net profit for the first quarter more than doubled to $342.7 million from $152.9 million a year ago, on the back of higher valuation of its shareholders' fund investments due to favourable market conditions.

The insurance arm of OCBC Bank saw a rise in earnings per share to 72 cents for the quarter from 32 cents a year ago, it said yesterday in a regulatory filing.

No interim dividend has been declared for the quarter, unchanged from a year ago. Shares of the company closed 0.81 per cent higher at $26.16 yesterday.

While new sales grew for the three months ended March 31, operating profit from the insurance business declined 8 per cent to $150 million, from $162.9 million a year ago.

The group's total weighted new sales rose 6 per cent to $249.4 million, from $235.1 million a year ago, as its operations in Malaysia and Indonesia continued growth momentum. In Singapore, agency sales "remained resilient", while bancassurance dipped slightly, said the group.

Non-operating profit in the first quarter rebounded to $74.6 million from a loss of $8.7 million a year ago, due to strong financial market conditions.

The group registered a $2.04 billion gain on sale of investments and changes in fair value, compared with a loss of $722.7 million a year ago.

It said that moving forward, its performance may be affected by volatility in global financial markets. Key indicators to watch in the long term are the direction of interest rates, equity prices and foreign exchange rates.

  • AT A GLANCE

  • TOTAL WEIGHTED NEW SALES:

    $249.4 million (+6%)

    NET PROFIT: 

    $342.7 million (+124%)

Great Eastern group chief executive officer Khor Hock Seng said the group will continue its push in its digital transformation journey as it embraces a new generation of consumers.

He added that building digital affinity partnerships is an integral part of the group's digital transformation, in order to provide more value and allow customers to enjoy insurance solutions seamlessly. More lifestyle-related modular products will be launched in the coming months.

"This push forward is a firm step to elevate customer experience and reach new segments of customers to serve them conveniently and seamlessly," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2019, with the headline 'Great Eastern's Q1 profit jumps to $342.7m'. Print Edition | Subscribe