Sat, Jul 30, 2011 - Page 11 News List

AIA shares briefly hit record high

LOOKING ROSY:The stock climbed to HK$29 per share in early trade yesterday, about 45 percent above the initial public offering price of HK$19.68 last year

AFP, HONG KONG

Shares in Asian insurance giant AIA touched a record high in Hong Kong yesterday as the firm said net profit in the first six months of its fiscal year rose by a quarter.

The stock, which was listed in the teeming financial hub following a monster US$20.5 billion share sale last year, hit HK$29 (US$3.72) in early trade before falling back to HK$28.55 in the afternoon, up 3 percent. The shares were trading yesterday about 45 percent above their HK$19.68 initial public offering (IPO) price.

Yesterday, the firm reported a US$1.31 billion net profit in the six months to May 31, a 24 percent year on year increase, while it said the value of its new business rose 32 percent to US$399 million.

“AIA’s strong performance across all of our key financial performance measures demonstrates the excellent progress we have made in executing our growth strategy,” said Mark Tucker, the firm’s chief executive.

“There is much more to come,” he added.

The rosy results come after AIA said earlier this year that its net profit last year rose 54 percent over 2009 to US$2.7 billion.

AIA raised US$20.5 billion in October, marking the world’s third-biggest IPO at the time.

Some of the cash was earmarked for helping its then-parent, troubled US insurer American International Group, pay off the US$182 billion US government bailout which it received at the height of the global financial crisis.

Once the world’s largest insurers, AIG received the massive government cash injection as it teetered on the brink of collapse in 2008 and threatened to take down a number of large banks with it.

AIG was forced to look at floating its Asian unit in Hong Kong after the collapse of a proposed US$35.5 billion sale to British insurer Prudential.

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