AIA Group Ltd. posts 7 percent fall in 2013 profits

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Hong Kong, China (4E) – AIA Group Ltd. reported a 7 percent profit slide for the full-year 2013 as the company’s earnings were hurt by volatile equity markets in last year’s second half.

The pan-Asian insurer’s net income fell to $2.82bn, or 23.5 cents per share, in the 12 months ended November, from $3.02bn, or 25.1 cents per share, in the previous year, according to the Hong Kong-based company’s disclosure to the stock exchange Friday. The mean estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a profit of $2.83bn.

New-business value, a gauge of insurers’ profitability, climbed to a record $1.5bn, a gain of 25 percent from the previous year and beat analysts’ expectations, according to the world’s fourth-biggest insurer.

AIA said the value of new-business margins improved by 0.5 percentage point to 44.1 percent while annualized new premium sales, a barometer of new business activity, advanced to $3.3bn or a 24 percent gain.

Net gains from stock investments stood at $424mn, down by 46 percent from a year earlier. Stock losses resulted to a 41 percent decline in AIA’s profit for 2011, which saw the only time the company missed earnings estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg News.

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