South Africa's Discovery posts 11% jump in half-year earnings


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JOHANNESBURG, March 20 (Reuters) - South African health insurer Discovery DSYJ.J on Wednesday reported an 11% jump in half-year headline earnings, benefiting from strong growth in new business and across its existing operations.

Its normalised headline earnings for the six months to Dec. 31 rose to 3.3 billion rand ($174.2 million) from 3 billion rand, it said, while headline earnings were largely unchanged at 3.2 billion rand.

Normalised operating profit grew 13% to 5.6 billion rand, while new business annual premium income increased 28%, with Discovery Health's new business augmented by the addition of Sasol's SOLJ.J medical scheme.

The group's banking business achieved its stated target of monthly operational break-even before acquisition costs during the period, ahead of plan, Discovery said.

For the reporting period, Discovery Bank cut its operating loss before new business acquisition costs by 40% and its overall loss from operations by 15% from the prior year. The bank had more than 825,000 clients as of December 2023.

($1 = 18.9427 rand)

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Jason Neely and Jan Harvey)

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