Insurer AIA's 23 pct first-half new business growth beats expectations

HONG KONG, July 25 Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:29pm EDT

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HONG KONG, July 25 (Reuters) - AIA Group Ltd, Asia's second-largest insurer by market capitalisation, on Friday reported a 23 percent rise in its value of new business in the first half of the year, led by strong growth in Hong Kong and China.

That beat expectations of 20 percent growth, according to the average estimate of 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 $792 million from $645 million a year earlier, the Hong Kong-based company said.

Net profit fell 20 percent to $1.55 billion, on decline in equity investments and a one-off payment to Citigroup Inc for a distribution deal signed last December.

(Reporting by Lawrence White; Editing by Stephen Coates and Lisa Shumaker)

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