Chinese Insurer Ping An Says Profit Up 33 Percent

August 19, 2011

Ping An Insurance Co. of China Ltd. said Thursday its fast-growing banking business helped to boost profit for the first half by nearly 33 percent.

Profit for the six months ending June 30 was 12.8 billion yuan ($1.9 billion), Ping An said. The share of that contributed by the company’s banking assets more than doubled to 2.4 billion yuan ($370 million).

Also Thursday, Ping An said it will spend up to 20 billion yuan ($307 million) to increase its ownership stake in midsize lender Shenzhen Development Bank.

Ping An, headquartered in the southern city of Shenzhen, said profit from its main life insurance business rose 3 percent to 6.8 billion yuan ($1 billion) while that from property and casualty insurance more than doubled to 2.7 billion ($415 million).

Profit from Ping An’s third main business area, securities, declined 14 percent to 715 million yuan ($110 million).

“Economic and financial conditions both at home and abroad remain challenging and complicated, and the recovery of the global economy is uncertain,” said chairman and CEO Ma Mingzhe in a statement.

China’s insurance and other financial industries have benefited from the country’s quick rebound following the 2008 global crisis.

Ping An, one of China’s biggest insurers, has said it wants to become a financial conglomerate by diversifying into banking and securities.

Under its acquisition announced Thursday, Ping An said it will increase its stake in Shenzhen Development Bank from 52.4 percent to about 72 percent.

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