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MMI posts robust results in maiden year

Sep 14 2011 08:47 Reuters & I-Net Bridge

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Johannesburg - South African insurer MMI Holdings Limited [JSE:MMI] reported a 22% rise in full-year earnings on Wednesday boosted by new business volum,e but warned future expansion would remain dependent on economic growth.

MMI, born from the merger of Metropolitan and Momentum, said core headline earnings per share totalled 163 cents in the year to end-June compared with 134c a year earlier.

The company, whose business includes insurance and asset management, said new business volume on an annual premium equivalent basis was 12% higher, driven by savings and investment products.

MMI declared a total 105c dividend per share, from 63c a year earlier.

Insurers are mounting a gradual recovery after being hit hard in recent years by the economic downturn, when fewer customers bought investment products and existing clients allowed policies to lapse.

South Africa emerged from a recession in 2009, but nagging unemployment and debt have crimped consumer demand and weighed on household earnings.

MMI's Metropolitan International operates in 12 countries outside South Africa, offering both health and life insurance.

MMI shares, which were listed in December 2010, have gained nearly 1% so far this year, compared with a 6.5% drop in the JSE All Share [JSE:J203] Index. 

Watching NHI closely

Metropolitan Health, a division of MMI, has welcomed the recent release of the national health insurance (NHI) green paper as a positive step forward in providing affordable healthcare for a greater proportion of the South African population.

Saying on Tuesday it was following developments in this regard closely, the division pointed out that it had "a wealth of experience in servicing and managing risk for most of the country's largest medical schemes at low cost and a proven track record of delivery, with a total client base of more than three million lives".

nhi  |  health  |  insurance
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