Johannesburg - MMI, South Africa’s third-largest insurer, said fiscal first-half profit increased 82 percent on stock market gains and reduced costs.
Net income for the six months ended December 31 climbed to 1.46 billion rand ($163 million) from 805 million rand a year earlier, the Cape Town-based insurer said in a statement today.
Diluted earning per share increased 77 percent to 94 cents, while the dividend rose 16 percent to 94 cents.
MMI has been cutting costs to shore up earnings after the merger of FirstRand’s Momentum and Metropolitan that created the company in 2010.
The insurer, which operates in 12 countries outside of South Africa, invests some of the money it receives from insurance policies in the stock market.
South Africa’s FTSE/JSE All Share Index rose 17 percent in the six months through December.
“Equity markets rose strongly during the reporting period while long bond interest rates closed slightly lower,” MMI said in the statement.
“Targeted merger savings of 500 million rand are on track, with a reduction of 256 million rand recorded to date. Overall, the benefits envisaged as part of the merger rationale are being realised.”
Shares have increased 2.6 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 35.7 billion rand. - Bloomberg News