AIA first-half value of new business growth beats expectations

HONG KONG, July 26 Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:16pm EDT

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HONG KONG, July 26 (Reuters) - AIA Group Ltd, Asia's third-biggest insurer, reported on Friday a 26 percent increase in its value of new business in the first half of the year.

That beat expectations of 21 percent growth, according to the average estimate of three analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Value of new business (VONB), a key metric for insurance companies that measures the present value of future business, rose to $645 million from $512 million a year earlier, the Hong Kong-based company said. VONB margins fell 1 percentage point to 41.6 percent.

Net profit rose 34 percent to $1.9 billion.

Shares of AIA closed 1.6 percent lower on Thursday, compared with a 0.3 percent drop in the benchmark Hang Seng index. (Reporting by Lawrence White; Editing by Gary Hill)

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