(Reuters) – AIA Group Ltd on Friday launched a $10 billion share buyback plan and declared the next ultimate dividend on robust progress in 2021, however warned of near-term ache from a current outbreak of coronavirus infections in Hong Kong.
The Asia-focussed insurer’s worth of recent enterprise or VONB, which measures anticipated revenue from new premiums and is a key gauge for future progress, rose to $3.37 billion for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, from $2.77 billion a 12 months earlier.
China and Hong Kong accounted for about half of recent enterprise progress globally. Mainland China enterprise was the highest contributor to VONB, logging a 14% progress, whereas its Hong Kong enterprise jumped 37%, indicating robust restoration from the pandemic-lows.
Higher working circumstances for the Hong Kong-based insurer, which depends on its military of brokers, prompted it to announce the buyback plan unfold over the following three years.
“The share buyback represents capital collected over time that’s surplus to our wants, permitting for capital market stress circumstances and retention of capital for strategic and monetary flexibility,” Group Chief Govt Officer Lee Yuan Siong mentioned.
Nevertheless, the corporate warned that the current outbreak of the Omicron variant, particularly in Hong Kong, is affecting its new enterprise gross sales, significantly within the first quarter.
Over the previous few weeks, Hong Kong has seen among the most draconian curbs in place to fight a report surge in coronavirus instances and deaths. China has additionally seen an increase of regionally transmitted coronavirus infections just lately.
AIA additionally declared a ultimate divided of 108 Hong Kong cents per share, 8% increased than final 12 months, taking the overall 2021 dividend to 146 HK cents apiece.
(Reporting by Selena Li in Hong Kong and Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Modifying by Arun Koyyur)