Ping An Insurance, China’s second largest insurer in terms of market value, reported a better-than-expected 6.5 per cent rise in net profit for the first six months in 2017, and proposed a dividend of 0.5 yuan per share on Thursday.
Net profit reached to 43.4 billion yuan (US$6.5 billion) in the first six months, beating a consensus forecast of 40.6 billion yuan by analysts polled by Bloomberg.
After excluding a 9.5 billion yuan gain from internal restructuring in the first half of 2016, profit growth was 38.8 per cent year on year.
The insurer’s total premium income was 341.39 billion yuan in the first half, according to interim result filing to the Hong Kong bourse. That compared with 256.87 billion yuan in the year-ago period.
Equity attributable to shareholders of the parent company amounted to 425.9 million yuan, up 11 per cent from the beginning of the year.
New business value generated by the life and health insurance business grew 46.2 per cent year on year, according to the company. For the property and casualty insurance sector, the company saw an increase of 23.5 per cent in premium income.
Ping An Insurance has proposed an interim dividend of 0.5 yuan per share for the six months ended June 30, 150 per cent higher that the same period last year.
The number of new customers reached 18.54 million, of which 6.67 million were converted from the group’s internet users.
Annualised net investment yield stood at 5 per cent on its investment portfolio of insurance funds for the first six months.
Ping An Insurance owns a 60 per cent stake in Ping An Bank, which saw net profit growth slow to 2.1 per cent from 6.1 per cent a year ago, to 12.55 billion yuan for the January-June period, according to its interim report issued last week.
“We believe new rules on the sale of life insurance products, coupled with a seasonal drop in agent headcount in certain months, could hurt premium growth in the second half of 2017...However, with the China insurance coverage, we believe Ping An continues to have the steadiest earnings growth prospects in the coming results season,” Dayton Wang, an analyst with Huatai Financial, wrote in a preview note in early August.