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Aug. 23, 2018, 11:04 p.m. EDT

AIA Group posts 14% gain in operating profit

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By Kenan Machado

HONG KONG--AIA Group Ltd. (1299.HK) Friday reported an operating profit after tax of US$2.65 billion, thanks to double-digit growth in Hong Kong, Malaysia, China and other markets.

In February, the Asian insurance giant changed the company's financial year-end date to Dec. 31 from Nov. 30. As a result, earnings for the first half of 2018 were for the seven months that ended in June, compared to the six months that ended in May last year.

On a like-to-like basis, operating profit after tax grew by 14% from US$2.23 billion a year earlier, the company said.

Net profit for the first half of 2018 was US$1.66 billion, a company spokesman told Dow Jones. Changes in the market value of equity investments affect the net profit and hence AIA does not consider it a key metric, he said.

The new-business value--a key measure of profitability rose by 17% on-year to US$1.95 billion on a like-to-like basis, AIA said. Similarly, annualized new premiums rose to US$3.25 billion from US$2.91 billion a year earlier.

The company declared an interim dividend of 29.20 Hong Kong cents a share compared to 25.62 Hong Kong cents a share a year earlier.

-Write to Kenan Machado at kenan.machado@wsj.com

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