LPI records stronger 1Q profit on improved investment income

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 15): LPI Capital Bhd's net profit for its first quarter ended March 31, 2019 (1QFY19) rose 6.4% to RM77.16 million from RM72.5 million a year ago, contributed by growth in its general insurance segment.

In a stock exchange filing today, LPI said profit for the general insurance segment increased by 3.2% to RM79.9 million, from RM77.4 million during the quarter under review, as a result of higher investment income. While its net earned premium increased by 8.9% to RM235.6 million from RM216.4 million in the year-ago quarter, LPI said its underwriting profit remained the same at RM59.6 million mainly due to higher claims incurred.

Business operation in Malaysia contributed 97.2% of the group's total profit before tax in the first quarter of 2019, it added.

Quarterly revenue grew 3.1% to RM392.7 million from RM381 million in 1QFY18, mainly driven by growth in gross earned premium of 2.4% or RM8.5 million from its general insurance segment.

Its investment holding segment also recorded higher revenue of RM17.5 million, as compared to RM16.1 million in the corresponding quarter in 2018, due to higher dividend income received.

Reviewing the performance of the group for the first three months of the year, Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow, founder and chairman of LPI group, said: "Despite the operating environment remaining challenging, the group managed to improve its performance in first quarter of 2019."

LPI's net return on equity for the quarter increased to 3.9%, from 3.7% previously, while earnings per share improved by 6.4% to 19.37 sen from 18.20 sen, Teh added.

The group is confident of reporting improved performance moving forward, despite challenges of global economic uncertainties and stiff competition in the local insurance market in light of a liberalising market.

LPI said it will continue to innovate new products to meet the insurance needs of customers and further strengthen its market position.

LPI shares were up 12 sen or 0.77% in thin trade to RM15.70 at 2.40pm, giving the group a market capitalisation of RM6.20 billion.