DURBAN – JSE-listed financial services group MMI Holdings is targeting between R3.6 billion and R4bn in headline earnings by 2021, up from the R1.62bn the group achieved in the six months to end December.
The group unveiled its three-year Reset and Grow turnaround strategy in September last year, which is meant to streamline its operations, maximise efficiencies and increase earnings across the group’s various businesses.
In the current reporting period, MMI said on Friday that it had increased its diluted normalised headline earnings by 2 percent to R1.62bn, up from R1.59bn compared to last year due to tight control of operational expenses, strong underwriting results and improved earnings from fixed rate and annuity products.
Diluted normalised headline earnings per share increased by 6 percent to 105 cents a share, and the group said it had benefited from the impact of the share buy-back programme recently completed.
Chief executive Hillie Meyer said: “We are satisfied with our progress so far towards our three-year goal of increasing earnings to between R3.6bn and R4bn for the 2021 financial year.”
Meyer added that after a successful completion of a share buy-back programme, the dividend payments had been reinstated at 35c a share.
The group announced in March last year that it would set aside R2bn for the share buy-back programme, which would take place over a 12-month period, starting on March 7, 2018.
In the results the group said against a challenging operating environment, which included declining equity markets and sluggish economic growth, it had improved both new business flows and the value of new business materially compared to last year.
New business volumes increased by 19 percent to R28.8bn, following strong single premium inflows, especially in Momentum Corporate while the value of new business increased by 12 percent to R335 million.
The net earned premiums from Momentum Short-term Insurance increased by 19percent and MMI Health showed a 2percent increase in medical scheme membership since December 2017.
During the period Momentum Life grew normalised headline earnings by 35 percent to R462m as a result of favourable risk experience and better than expected take-up of voluntary premium increases by policyholders.
Momentum Corporate increased normalised headline earnings by 9 percent to R319m, with both the employee benefits and the health business showing earnings growth while MMI’s Non-life Insurance business increased normalised headline earnings by 29 percent to R135m. Looking ahead Meyer said given the recent performance of stock markets and the tough economic environment, the group did not expect these results will be repeated in the next six months.
MMI shares rose 0.64percent on the JSE on Friday to close at R15.70.