May 3, 2021

Great Eastern Q1 profit soars to $437.6m on favourable market conditions

By ellen

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Great Eastern posted a net profit of $437.6 million for its first quarter ended March 31, 2021, 12.9 times that of $33.9 million for the year-ago period.

This was mainly due to a higher valuation of investments amid more favourable financial market conditions for the quarter compared to the previous year, the insurance arm of OCBC said in a bourse filing on Monday (May 3).

Operating profit for Q1 fell 39 per cent year on year to $182.3 million, from $298.6 million last year due to higher new business strain in Q1 2021 and positive one-off items in the first quarter last year, Great Eastern said.

Meanwhile, non-operating profit came in at $214.7 million, reversing a loss of $222.8 million last year. The group attributed this to mark-to-market gains from favourable market conditions in Q1, compared to significant losses the previous year amid unfavorable financial market conditions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A $46.4 million profit net of tax from shareholders’ fund was recorded by the group, reversing a $41.9 million loss last year due to mark-to-market gains amid favourable market conditions, according to Great Eastern.

The group also registered a strong total weighted net sales growth for Q1 at $383.6 million, up 28 per cent from last year’s $299.1 million. Great Eastern attributed this to sales across all markets which recorded double-digit growth compared to the same quarter last year.

Amid the growth in sales, new business embedded value grew 30 per cent to $182.2 million from $$140.4 million last year.

Group chief executive officer Khor Hock Seng noted that the group had started the year with a “good set of first quarter results”, with key operating metrics such as total weighted new sales, new business embedded value and profit attributable to shareholders registering significant growth.

“Our strong performance is anchored on our multi-channel distribution capabilities, complemented by our digital solutions and services as well as a comprehensive suite of products,” Mr Khor said.

Great Eastern’s shares closed at $22.96 on Friday, down 1.1 per cent or $0.26.