August 1, 2019 / 6:03 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-S.Africa's Liberty posts 53% gain in HY profit as turnaround strategy pays off

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JOHANNESBURG, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Liberty Holdings posted a better-than-expected 53% jump in half-year profit on Thursday as the South African insurer’s turnaround strategy paid off.

The company has made a U-turn in recent years to focus on its home market, a move which has delivered higher earnings and pleased its shareholders, including parent Standard Bank .

It had flagged in July that it expected its earnings to jump at least 45% during the first six months to end-June as a result of this effort.

“We expect the South African economic environment to remain subdued for the remainder of 2019. However, we are confident that we are focusing on the right areas of the business to create sustainable longer-term value for all stakeholders,” the company said.

Liberty said its first-half normalised headline earnings per share stood at 735.8 cents, compared to 482 cents over the same period last year.

Headline EPS is the main profit measure in South Africa that strips out certain one-off items. Liberty Holdings normalises the figure to account for factors including the consolidation of a listed subsidiary’s accounts into group financial statements. (Reporting by Onke Ngcuka; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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