Ping An Profit Jumps as Stock Rally Boosts Investment Returns

Ping An Insurance (Group) Co., China’s second-largest insurer, said profit jumped 62 percent in the first half of this year as a stock-market rally boosted investment returns.

Net income rose to 34.6 billion yuan ($5.42 billion) in the period from 21.4 billion yuan a year earlier, the Shenzhen-based company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Thursday.

China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index surged 32 percent in the first half, boosting the value of insurers’ stock holdings. Ping An’s investment income surged 267 percent in the first six months from a year earlier, while net investment income, comprised mainly of interest and dividends, rose 26 percent.

Equities accounted for 17.5 percent of Ping An’s portfolio as of June 30, up from 14.1 percent at the end of last year, the insurer said. Fixed-income investments fell to 77.1 percent from 79.7 percent.

Written premiums of Ping An’s life insurance business increased 16.5 percent from a year earlier, while profit at the banking arm climbed 15 percent, the company said.

New business value, which gauges the profitability of new life policies sold, rose 44.3 percent, the company said.

Underwriting profitability of non-life insurance improved, with the combined ratio, which measures claims and expenses as a percentage of premium income, dropping to 93.6 percent at the end of June, compared with 94.4 percent a year earlier.

Ping An fell 1.7 percent in Hong Kong trading to HK$39.60, trimming this year’s gain to 0.1 percent. The Hang Seng Index has dropped 3.6 percent.

— With assistance by Dingmin Zhang, and Aipeng Soo

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