Guardian Holdings Ltd sees increase in profits


For 2015, integrated financial services group Guardian Holdings Ltd (GHL) achieved a $51 million increase in profit before tax.
Consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31 show that the $449 million profit was 13 per cent higher than the $398 million recorded in 2014.
Chairman Arthur Lok Jack, in his statement to shareholders, said continued growth in GHL’s various business units yielded net income of $662 million from insurance underwriting activities. This was an increase of $172 million or 35 per cent from $490 million in the previous year. He said the group also benefited from “the favourable impact of reserve releases arising from changes to Jamaica tax legislation governing the insurance industry”.
Lok Jack said 2015 had been challenging on the investment front and GHL’s net income from those activities declined by $82 million from $870 million to $788 million. He said this was mainly driven by a $94 million swing in fair values, reflecting turbulent market conditions.
“We are actively continuing to rebalance our investment portfolio and are well positioned to take advantage of significant opportunities to improve our investment performance as interest rates rise,” he said.
GHL was also affected by an increase in operating expenses, from $859 million in 2014 to $866 million last year. This included a $13 million one-off levy from the change in the tax regime for insurance companies in Jamaica.
However, Lok Jack said, the group is beginning to benefit from projects to drive down costs.
The chairman added: “The Guardian Group consists of the strongest portfolio of insurance companies across the Caribbean, holdings a strong number one position in Trinidad and Tobago, which is the largest insurance market in the English-speaking Caribbean, as well as number one or number two positions in other key markets.
“Our operating companies have demonstrated robust performance, producing a return on equity of 12.2 per cent despite the difficult investment market conditions. We are long-term investors and will produce superior long-term investment returns despite short-term vagaries in investment markets.”
GHL’s annual general meeting takes place on April 29 at 4.30 pm at the Guardian Corporate Centre in Westmoorings.

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