UPDATE: Great Eastern reports 1Q19 net profit more than doubled on market recovery

Great Eastern building in Singapore’s central business districtGreat Eastern building in Singapore’s central business district

This article was originally published on Friday, 3 May 2019 at 8:18 A.M. SGT; it has since been updated.

Great Eastern reported Friday its first quarter net profit jumped 124 percent on-year to S$342.7 million on higher valuations of investments amid “strong financial market conditions.”

Gross premiums increased 6 percent on-year to S$2.59 billion, partly on contributions from the mySalam program for Malaysia’s B40 households, the insurer said in a filing to SGX before the market open. MySalam is a shariah-compliant health insurance program, while B40 refers to the bottom 40 percent by income, or a median household income of around 3,000 Malaysian ringgit (S$988) a month

Net investment income increased 10 percent on-year to S$629.1 million on higher interest income, it said.

Profit net of tax from the shareholders’ fund jumped more than 1,000 percent on-year to S$124.2 million in the quarter on higher investment income and higher mark-to-market gains in equities, the filing said.

However, operating profit from the insurance business fell 8 percent on-year to S$150 million in the quarter on a one-off, year-earlier gain from releasing surplus from overseas operations, Great Eastern said.

Fees and other income fell 14 percent on-year in the quarter to S$17.9 million, mainly on lower fee income from the Lion Global Investors asset management arm, the insurer said.

The foreign exchange loss narrowed to S$15.1 million in the quarter, mainly on U.S.-dollar denominated investments, from a S$42.6 million loss in the year-ago period, the filing said.

Total weighted new sales grew a “modest” 6 percent on-year to S$249.4 million in the quarter, the insurer said.


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