Great Eastern's Q1 profit soars on higher valuation of investments

Great Eastern posted a net profit of $437.6 million for its first quarter ended March 31 - 12.9 times the $33.9 million posted the year before.

This was mainly due to a higher valuation of investments amid more favourable financial market conditions for the quarter compared with the previous year, the insurance arm of OCBC Bank said in a bourse filing yesterday.

Operating profit for the first quarter fell 39 per cent year on year to $182.3 million from $298.6 million due to higher new business strain in the first quarter this year and positive one-off items in the first quarter last year, Great Eastern said.

Meanwhile, non-operating profit came in at $214.7 million, reversing a loss of $222.8 million last year. The group attributed this to mark-to-market gains from favourable market conditions in the first quarter, compared with significant losses the previous year amid unfavourable financial market conditions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A $46.4 million profit net of tax from the shareholders' fund was recorded by the group, reversing a $41.9 million loss last year due to mark-to-market gains amid favourable market conditions, according to Great Eastern.

The group also registered strong total weighted net sales growth for the first quarter at $383.6 million, up 28 per cent from last year's $299.1 million. Great Eastern attributed this to sales across all markets which recorded double-digit growth compared with the same quarter last year.

Amid the growth in sales, new business embedded value grew 30 per cent to $182.2 million from $140.4 million last year.

Group chief executive Khor Hock Seng noted that the group had started the year with a "good set of first-quarter results", with key operating metrics such as total weighted new sales, new business embedded value and profit attributable to shareholders registering significant growth.

"Our strong performance is anchored on our multi-channel distribution capabilities, complemented by our digital solutions and services as well as a comprehensive suite of products," he said.

Great Eastern's shares closed at $23.07 yesterday, up 0.48 per cent.

THE BUSINESS TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2021, with the headline 'Great Eastern's Q1 profit soars on higher valuation of investments'. Subscribe