SUNCORP INCREASES HALF YEAR PROFIT, DIVIDEND

SUNCORP INCREASES HALF YEAR PROFIT, DIVIDEND

SUNCORP has reported half year net profit after tax of $537 million for the six months to 31 December, up from $530 million in the previous corresponding period, and an increased interim dividend of $0.33 per share.

Suncorp CEO and Managing Director Michael Cameron (pictured) says that over the past 12 months, the group has been significantly repositioned.

"We have achieved a lot, and the next 12 months will be about settling into a different way of working, and fully embedding the plan into the organisation to enable disciplined execution of our strategy," he says.

The result included natural hazard claims costs of $350 million (HY16: $362 million), investment earnings of $79 million (HY16: $133 million), reserve releases of $131 million (HY16: $137 million) and a loss on sale of Autosure of $25 million.

The insurance section of the Brisbane-based business increased NPAT by 42.5% to $369 million due to top line growth, lower claims costs and disciplined expense management.

The banking and wealth business delivered NPAT of $208 million, reflecting improved operating expenses and strong credit quality. In response to some "unsustainable competitor pricing", the bank focused on profitable growth through the optimisation of price and volume.

Cameron says Suncorp has performed well against its three priorities of maintaining stability and momentum, elevating the customer, and recalibrating costs.

"Continued top line growth and further improvement in the underlying ITR will help maintain the stability and momentum of the business," he says.

"Our program of delivering additional marketplace capabilities will accelerate, driving growth as we deepen the relationships we have with our customers. This activity will be funded by an ongoing focus on our costs," says Cameron.

Suncorp finished the day's ASX trading steady at $13.15 per share.

Business News Australia

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