Great Eastern reports 2Q19 net profit dropped 29 percent

Great Eastern building at Changi in Singapore; taken August 2018.Great Eastern building at Changi in Singapore; taken August 2018.

Great Eastern reported Thursday its second quarter net profit dropped 29 percent on-year to S$169 million on lower non-operating profit and lower profit from the shareholders’ fund.

Gross premiums for the quarter fell 12 percent on-year to S$2.87 billion on lower single premium sales in Singapore, the insurer said in a filing to SGX.

Profit from the shareholders’ fund dropped 47 percent on-year to S$36.6 million, the insurer said.

“The group’s investment performance was strong in the second quarter, in line with the favorable market conditions. These gains were largely reflected in the group’s total comprehensive income instead of the group’s profit attributable to shareholders,” Khor Hock Seng, group CEO, said in the filing.

Total comprehensive income jumped 148 percent on-year in the quarter to S$304.4 million, the filing said.

Total expenses jumped 50 percent on-year to S$4.24 billion for the quarter, Great Eastern said.

Management and other expenses climbed 44 percent on-year to S$148.5 million on higher staff-related expenses and professional fees, while the change in insurance contract liabilities rose 135 percent on-year to S$2.11 billion for the quarter on a decline in the discount rate used to value the item, the filing said.

Exchange difference resulted in a loss of S$6.1 million for the second quarter, compared with a year-ago gain of S$89.9 million, mainly due to U.S. dollar denominated investments, Great Eastern said.

Total weighted new sales fell 9 percent on-year to S$299.9 million in the quarter ended 30 June on lower sales in Singapore, even as Malaysia and Indonesia both saw increases, the filing said.

New business embedded value slipped to S$147.8 million in the quarter from S$148.8 million in the year-ago quarter, the filing said.

Great Eastern declared an interim dividend of 10 Singapore cents a share, unchanged on-year.

For the first half, Great Eastern reported net profit rose 31 percent on-year to S$511.7 million, the filing said.

In the outlook, Khor pointed to Great Eastern’s efforts to expand its insurance product offerings.

“We have launched GREAT Family Care, a critical illness term plan that protects three generations in a family within a single policy and a Parent Protect rider,” Khor said. “This product suite aims to address the concerns of the Sandwich Generation, who bear the responsibility of caring for their ageing parents and young children, and to close the critical illness protection gap in Singapore.”

Khor added that Great Eastern also launched two investment-linked plans.

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