AIA Group, Asia's No.3 insurer, reported a 40 percent rise in value of new business (VONB) in the year ended Nov. 30, 2011, helped by strong growth in Singapore, China and Malaysia.
VONB for the period rose to $932 million while VONB margin climbed 4.6 percentage points to 37.2 percent, the company said in a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. VONB is a measure of the present value of future business.
"The value of new business came in way above consensus. We were looking for $883 million and we were at the high end of Street estimates," said Stanley Tsai, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods in Hong Kong.
"Volumes were in line or slightly below expectations but margins were very high. That was driven mainly by Hong Kong and Thailand," Tsai said.
The margin on new business growth in Hong Kong in 2011 was 56.1 percent. In Thailand, it was 48.8 percent.
AIA said that its future performance would depend on the global economy, noting continuing uncertainties could "have a negative impact upon Asian economic growth rates and consequently upon AIA's business."
But it added that in the absence of major external shocks an "immense opportunity exists for AIA given present levels of wealth, the significant protection gap across the region and likely future economic growth."