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Great Eastern reaches S$193.2m in profits for Q2

Its year-to-date profits reached S$437.2m.

Great Eastern’s profit attributable to shareholders surged to S$193.2m in the second quarter of 2023, up from S$55m last year.

This makes its year-to-date profits reach S$437.2m, up nearly double from the S$224.1m in the same period last year.

Great Eastern also adopted SFRS (I) 17 Insurance Contracts on 1 January, and prepared its first semester profit attributable to shareholders based on this accounting standard. 

As a result, the profit attributable to shareholders for the period nearly doubled, driven by favourable investment performance in the Singapore Life business and shareholders' fund. However, higher-than-expected claims in Singapore and Malaysia affected the underlying insurance business.

During the second quarter and the first half of 2023, the group's Total Weighted New Sales (TWNS) declined by 39% and 31%, respectively, compared to the same periods last year. 

This drop was mainly due to lower single-premium sales in the Singapore market. 

However, there was growth in regular premium sales, particularly in protection and whole-life plans through the Group's core distribution channels.

ALSO READ: Great Eastern in discussions to buy Malaysia's AmMetLife

As a result of the decline in TWNS, the Group's New Business Embedded Value (NBEV) fell by 9% in the quarter and 10% in the semester to S$181.5m and S$351.2m, respectively. 

Despite this, the NBEV margin improved in both quarters due to a more favourable product mix towards protection plans in Singapore and Malaysia.

The group's core business lines have shown resilience and steady growth with an increase of over 150,000 new customers in the January to June period.

Despite the accounting changes, the Capital Adequacy Ratios of the Group's insurance subsidiaries in both Singapore and Malaysia remain strong and well above their respective regulatory minimum levels.

The board of directors declared an interim one-tier tax-exempt dividend of 35 cents per ordinary share, payable on 31 August. 

Great Eastern is modifying its dividend payment method to provide a more steady dividend payment twice yearly. 

Each payment will target a full-year payout based on the sustainable profit level of the group, with dividends expected to be progressive in line with the profit trend. 

The company said it aims to maintain each dividend amount to be no lower than the preceding one, barring unforeseen circumstances.

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