Great Eastern Q1 profit sinks 90% on non-operating losses

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Great Eastern Holdings on Wednesday (May 6) posted a 90 per cent drop in net profit to $33.9 million for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020 from $342.7 million a year ago.

The insurance arm of OCBC Bank was weighed down by non-operating losses of $222.8 million, compared to a non-operating profit of $75.9 million a year earlier. Great Eastern said this was due to lower valuation of investments, arising from unfavourable financial market conditions in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, operating profit doubled to $298.6 million from $148.7 million from the same quarter last year. This was driven by increased contribution from its core markets and a reduction in insurance contract liabilities in both Singapore and Malaysia.

Total weighted new sales for the quarter grew 21 per cent to $298.8 million, from $247.4 million a year ago.

According to Great Eastern, the group’s operations in Singapore and Malaysia continued its growth momentum, driven by agency channels in both countries and the bancassurance channel in Singapore.

Correspondingly, new business embedded value increased by 15 per cent for the quarter to $126.1 million, from $109.8 million for the corresponding period last year.

Great Eastern shares closed at $18.73 on Tuesday, up $0.13 or 0.7 per cent.

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