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Discovery’s First-Half Profit Climbs 38% on New Businesses

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Discovery Ltd., owner of South Africa’s largest medical-insurance administrator, said fiscal half-year profit rose after the company attracted new business.

Net income climbed to 1.71 billion rand ($155 million) in the six months to Dec. 30, from 1.24 billion rand a year earlier, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement. Diluted earnings per share rose 36 percent to 3.01 rand and the company declared an increased interim dividend of 4.28 rand.

Discovery operates in countries including South Africa, the U.K. and China. Last year, it increased stake in China’s Ping An health insurance unit to 25 percent from 20 percent and expanded its wellness-based life-insurance model, called Vitality, into Singapore through a venture with AIA Group Ltd. in July.

Discovery fell 1.4 percent to 77.50 rand by the close in Johannesburg trading. The stock has dropped 8.3 percent this year, making it the worst performer on the six-member FTSE/JSE Africa Life Assurance Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Renee Bonorchis in Johannesburg at rbonorchis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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