Ping An’s 2018 profit beats forecasts with 20.6% growth

Firm to buy back up to US$1.5 billion in shares following strong results for last year

Ping An’s 2018 profit beats forecasts with 20.6% growth

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Ping An Insurance Group of China posted a net profit of RMB107.4 billion yuan (US$16.01 billion) in 2018 - 20.6% year-on-year growth that surpassed industry forecasts.

China’s largest insurer by market value exceeded the RMB101 billion estimate compiled by Refinitiv, a report by Reuters said. The group’s results were boosted by the strong performances of its life and health insurance businesses.

Following its strong showing in 2018, Ping An announced in a Hong Kong stock exchange filing that it would launch its first-ever share buy-back. The insurer is looking to spend around RMB5 billion to RMB10 billion (US$750 million to US$1.49 billion) to repurchase its Shanghai-listed A-shares via centralised bidding transactions.

According to the report, the results and buy-back highlight Ping An’s advantages over smaller insurers in the Chinese market, amid regulators’ increased scrutiny of insurers and their leverage, which has resulted in some violators being slapped with penalties.

The group also plans to issue up to RMB100 billion (US$14.9 billion) in debt financing instruments, but it did not specify a target date. Both the buy-back and issuing of bonds will require the approval of shareholders, who will convene at Ping An’s annual general meeting in April.

Ping An is the only Asian and Chinese insurer among nine peers deemed as systemically important by global financial regulators.

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