Johannesburg - Healthcare insurer Discovery Holdings [JSE:DSY]
said on Friday that a strong performance continued into the first quarter of
the year, with all its entities performing in line with expectation.
For Discovery Invest, retail assets under management reached
R16.5bn during June, the group said.
In a trading statement for the nine months ended March,
Discovery said it continued to make significant progress towards achieving
quality growth in its South African businesses, scale, profitability and
relevance in its international business and launching new businesses.
On the basis of current performance, and recognising the
effect of the accounting entries relating to the acquisition of Standard Life
Healthcare, earnings per share for the financial year to June were expected to
be at least 20% higher than those reported during the 2010 financial year.
In addition, on a normalised basis - which adjusts for the
effect of transactions related to the Standard Life Healthcare acquisition, and
therefore provides a more accurate measure of the operating performance of the
group - normalised headline earnings per share were also expected to show an
improvement of more than 20% over the prior period, the group said.
Discovery reiterated its intention to introduce a new class
of equity capital.
For its South African operations, Discovery Health total
medical scheme membership surpassed the 2.5 million lives level, with ongoing
low lapse levels. "In the context of the acquisition of a number of large
closed schemes in the comparative period, new business growth remained
strong," it said.
In addition to the performance of the existing businesses,
the period under review also saw the launch of Discovery Insure, Discovery's
entry into the short-term insurance market. Discovery Insure is the next
manifestation of the Discovery model, and is complementary to Discovery's
"Initial interest in the Discovery Insure offering has
been high, and above expectation," the group said.
For its international operations Discovery said it continued
to pursue two distinct strategies, including a focus on achieving scale,
relevance and profitability in the UK with PruHealth and PruProtect, and
operationalising the joint ventures in China and the US with the Ping An Group
of China and Humana Inc, respectively.