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.