(Yicai Global) Aug. 18 -- China's second-biggest insurer Ping An Insurance Co. [SHA:601318] saw net profit rise CNY43.4 billion (USD6.5 billion) in the first half of this year to beat market expectations.
The profits represent 38.8 percent annual growth when subtracting the non-recurring CNY9.5-billion profit generated through the reorganization of subsidiary Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co. (Lufax) during the first six months of last year.
Ping An saw its A-share price rally 40 percent in the first half after promising earnings forecasts, and to the relief of investors, financial results met those expectations.
The Shenzhen-based holding company has offered an interim dividend of CNY0.5 (USD0.07) a share, up 150 percent compared to the same period last year.
The firm's dividend growth has far outstripped its increase in profit, said Yao Bo, chief financial officer, adding that the company will try to maintain and even increase the current level of return for shareholders while ensuring the stability of the group's business scale and dividend payouts.
New business from the group's life and health insurance products rose 46.2 percent annually in the first half, and the life insurance agent headcount increased 19.3 percent to 1.32 million in the same period.
China's largest online wealth management platform, Lufax, was also profitable, though its semi-annual earnings report does not give exact figures. From January through June, the Shanghai-based firm posted strong growth in wealth management, consumer finance and inter-agency trading businesses.
Trading volumes of wealth management products jumped 65 percent to nearly CNY1.1 trillion, and that of interagency transactions rose 45.4 percent to almost CNY3.6 trillion.
The company has embarked on a transition from a capital-driven business toward a technology-driven business, said Ma Mingzhe, chief executive. The report also disclosed for the first time the results of technology innovation initiatives at the firm, with artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing and Big Data identified as the four core technologies.