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Great Eastern Q3 profit slips 4% on non-operating losses

GREAT Eastern Holdings on Friday posted a 4 per cent drop in net profit to S$205.1 million for the third quarter ended Sept 30, from S$213.3 million a year ago.

This came as non-operating losses came in at S$31.8 million for Q3, compared to a non-operating profit of S$20.6 million in the corresponding period last year. The insurance arm of OCBC Bank said this was due to higher valuation of insurance contract liabilities as a result of a drop in the discount rate used to value these liabilities.

Meanwhile, operating profit grew 24 per cent on the year to S$179 million from S$144.4 million for the quarter, thanks to improved contribution from the Singapore and Malaysia businesses.

Earnings per share slipped to S$0.43 for Q3, down 4 per cent from S$0.45 a year ago.

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Total weighted new sales for the quarter fell 9 per cent to S$318.1 million, from S$350.5 million a year ago, due to Great Eastern’s product management strategy to optimise its product mix which caused gross premiums to shrink 13 per cent from a year ago to S$3.1 billion.

That product management strategy led to new business embedded value rising by 30 per cent to S$163.3 million in Q3 from S$125.7 million a year ago, Great Eastern said on Friday.

Group chief executive officer Khor Hock Seng said Great Eastern’s strong operating results in the first nine months was a result of both the agency and bancassurance channels.

“We will continue to devote key resources to strengthen the agency channel and enhance its effectiveness. Coupled with our bancassurance partnership with OCBC Bank and advancement in our digital transformation, we remain on track to grow our business,” Mr Khor added.

No dividend was declared for Q3. The company only pays an interim dividend for the half year and a final dividend for the full year.

Shares of Great Eastern closed at S$21.72 on Thursday, down eight cents or 0.4 per cent.