S.Africa's Liberty sees H1 profit rise as turnaround gains traction
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JOHANNESBURG, Aug 2 (Reuters) - South African insurer
Liberty Holdings reported a 6 percent rise in half-year
profit on Thursday, a sign that a turnaround strategy launched
a year ago is gaining momentum.
Liberty, a unit of lender Standard Bank, is in the
middle of a financial recovery plan under current Chief
Executive David Munro that includes a greater focus on
higher-margin products and slower offshore expansion. Munro took
the reigns a year ago from Thabo Dloti.
Dloti resigned after clashing with the board over his
acquisition-fuelled expansion across Africa, while Standard Bank
accused him of neglecting the vast, largely untapped
lower-income market at home.
Normalised headline earnings, a closely-watched profit
measure that excludes certain one-off items, rose to 482 cents
per share in the six months ended June compared with 457 cents a
"Our results for the half year reflect a stabilisation of
our business, but we are still some distance from where we need
to be, especially given weak new business volumes," Munro said
in a statement.
Munro also said new business volumes, or new insurance
policy sign-ups, were expected to remain under pressure in the
face of a weak South African economy and job losses.
Liberty, which was founded in 1957 by businessman and
philanthropist Donald Gordon, said a data breach of some of its
customers' emails in June remained a subject of criminal
(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; editing by Alexander Winning
and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
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