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Great Eastern posts 5% rise in Q4 profit, keeps dividend payout

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Great Eastern Holdings' net profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2015, increased 5 per cent to S$218.8 million, or 46 Singapore cents per share, as profits from the insurance business offset a loss from shareholders' fund's investments.

GREAT Eastern Holdings' net profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2015, increased 5 per cent to S$218.8 million, or 46 Singapore cents per share, as profits from the insurance business offset a loss from shareholders' fund's investments.

The insurer is declaring a final dividend of 40 Singapore cents per share plus a special dividend of five Singapore cents per share. Including a 10 cent per share interim payout in September, Great Eastern's total dividend for 2015 will be 55 Singapore cents per share. That is equal to the amount paid out in 2014.

For the full year, net profit fell 11 per cent to S$785.4 million, or S$1.66 per share.

Great Eastern's profit from its insurance business rose 18 per cent to S$239.6 million during the quarter, largely on the back of a 66 per cent growth in profit from its non-participating fund.

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Shareholders' fund' s investments, however, fell into a S$1.1 million loss from a year-ago profit of S$48.6 million as sale of investments and changes in fair value of investments represented a S$34.2 million loss compared to a year-ago gain of S$10.3 million.

Great Eastern expects market volatility to affect its results in the year ahead.

"The group's performance may be affected by mark-to-market valuation of its assets and liabilities due to volatility in the financial markets arising from uncertainties over potential further US interest rate hikes, concerns over the slowing down of the global economy," Great Eastern said.

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