SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Great Eastern’s net profit rose 22 per cent to $282.9 million for the second quarter ended June 30, from $232.3 million in the same period a year ago.

This was mainly due to higher operating profit from the insurance business, which grew 19 per cent year on year to $174.1 million, from $146.9 million a year ago, the insurance arm of OCBC Bank said on Tuesday (Aug 2).

Its board has declared an interim dividend of 10 cents per share for the financial year ending Dec 31, payable on Aug 31.

Non-operating profit for the quarter jumped 368 per cent to $168.4 million, from $36 million in the year-ago period.

The insurer also booked a $58.9 million loss from shareholders’ fund, from a profit of $55.8 million in the year before, due to mark-to-market losses in equities and collective investment schemes.

Consistent performance across all markets drove total weighted new sales to rise 3 per cent year on year to $550.6 million from $534.8 million.

Higher sales from the Malaysia market helped new business embedded value (NBEV) to increase by 5 per cent to $201.9 million, from $193.1 million in the year-ago period.

For the six months ended June, net profit was down 25 per cent to $502.9 million from $669.9 million. This translates to earnings per share of $1.06 for the year, down from $1.42 in the same period a year ago.

Operating profit from the insurance business grew 11 per cent to $365.5 million from $328.2 million, while non-operating profit was down 10 per cent to $227.3 million, from $251.7 million in the year-ago period.

Great Eastern recorded a loss of $89.8 million from shareholders’ fund, compared with a profit of $102.2 million last year.

Total weighted new sales were up 15 per cent on the year to $1.1 billion from $916.7 million on higher sales across all markets.

NBEV for the half-year period was up 0.5 per cent at $393.2 million, compared with $391.3 million in the year-ago period. Great Eastern noted that lower NBEV from Malaysia offset gains from a stable performance and higher contributions from the Singapore market.

Great Eastern closed one cent or 0.1 per cent at $19.45 on Monday.