Earnings at Manulife Financial rise to $1.4b in Q2

Hong Kong-listed Canadian insurer Manulife Financial Corp posted net earnings of C$1.255 billion (S$1.35 billion) for the second quarter, up from C$704 million for the same period a year ago, after favourable investment-related experience gains.

Core earnings for the three months ended June 30 came to C$1.17 billion, up C$341 million or 41 per cent, helped by C$154 million in core investment gains, compared with zero for last year.

The remaining C$187 million increase was driven by strong new business and in-force growth in Asia, combined with higher fee income at the wealth and asset management businesses and a reduction in equity hedging costs.

The United States division contributed C$452 million to core earnings, the Asian arm C$405 million and the Canadian arm C$345 million.

Net income for the Asia division was US$413 million (S$563.6 million), against US$22 million last year. Core earnings were 18 per cent higher than a year ago.

In Asia, annualised premium equivalent (APE) sales for the quarter rose 12 per cent to US$686 million, from strong insurance sales in Japan, Vietnam and mainland China, and continued growth in Singapore.

Wealth and asset management gross flows in Asia reached US$5.0 billion, up 17 per cent from a year ago, thanks to higher retail flows in Asia ex-Japan and Hong Kong from the expansion of bank distribution partners, as well as an increase in retirement flows in Hong Kong, partially offset by lower institutional asset management flows.

New business value for Asia was US$200 million, a 16 per cent increase from a year ago, driven by APE growth and steps taken to improve margins, although the results were partially offset by a change in business mix in Hong Kong.

Earnings per share came to C$0.62, up from C$0.34 a year ago.

A quarterly dividend of C$0.205 per share will be paid on Sept 19.

Manulife president Roy Gori said: "We delivered strong insurance sales with double-digit growth in all divisions, and new business value increased by 24 per cent. We also delivered our 30th consecutive quarter of positive wealth and asset management net flows, with contributions from all divisions."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2017, with the headline 'Earnings at Manulife Financial rise to $1.4b in Q2'. Print Edition | Subscribe