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PICC Falls as Profit Misses Estimates on Investment Losse

PICC Falls as Profit Misses Analyst Estimates
PICC suffered 2.6 billion yuan in net realized and unrealized losses on investments in 2011. Photographer: Keith Bedford/Bloomberg

March 29 (Bloomberg) -- PICC Property & Casualty Co., China’s biggest non-life insurer, fell by the most in three weeks in Hong Kong trading after profit for last year missed analyst estimates because of stock-market losses.

The stock dropped as much as 4.2 percent to $HK9.45, the most since March 6. The stock traded at HK$9.46 as of 10:27 a.m. local time. Net income rose 52 percent to 8.03 billion yuan ($1.27 billion), the company said yesterday, which compares with the 8.8 billion yuan median estimate of 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

“The main driver of the miss was a 2 billion yuan impairment loss on its equity investment,” Barclays Plc analysts led by Mark Kellock wrote in a report today. “More importantly though, underwriting income was better than expected.”

PICC suffered 2.6 billion yuan in net realized and unrealized losses on investments amid a 22 percent rout in the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, reversing from a 1.1 billion yuan gain in 2010, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday. Underwriting profit almost tripled to 8.02 billion yuan, as Chairman Wu Yan maintained controls on claims and expenses.

New China Life Insurance Co., the nation’s third-biggest life insurer, dropped 6.5 percent to HK$30.00. New business value for last year, which measures the profitability of new policies sold, fell 8 percent, the weakest in the sector, the company said yesterday.

To contact the Bloomberg News staff for this story: Zhang Dingmin in Beijing at Dzhang14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net

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