UPDATE 1-Genworth Australia first half net profit up 41 percent

Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:15pm EDT

(Adds details from results, outlook, share performance)

SYDNEY, July 30 (Reuters) - Home-loan insurer Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia Ltd on Wednesday posted a 41 percent rise in first-half net profit, its first earnings report since listing two months ago.

Genworth, which provides insurance to mortgage lenders, mostly for high loan to value residential mortgages, reported a net profit for the six months-ended June of A$133.1 million ($124.90 million), up from A$94.6 million a year ago.

It expects a full year net profit after tax of between A$231.1 million and A$250 million on better loss ratio - the difference of the ratios of premiums paid and claims settled.

"The performance is marginally ahead of our expectations and positions us well for the remainder of the 2014 financial year," Chief Executive Officer Elli Comerford said in a statement.

The company made a strong debut on the Australian Stock Exchange in May after U.S. financial services company Genworth Financial Inc sold 34 percent of its Australian business to raise A$583 million ($545 million).

Genworth has an estimated 45 percent share of the new insurance market and contractual agreements with three of the big four banks for whom mortgage lending is the largest asset class and contributor to profit.

Australia's residential property market has been enjoying rising prices and a revival in activity after a period of stagnation, thanks largely to record low interest rates.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has kept rates steady at a 2.5 percent after last easing them in August 2013. Most economists expect rates to remain on hold for at least the rest of the year.

Genworth said its loss ratio for the first half improved to nearly 20 percent from 42.3 percent a year ago. For the year to December, it sees the ratio between 25 percent and 30 percent.

Gross written premium rose about 15 percent to A$313.6 million.

It declared an interim dividend of 2.8 cents a share.

Genworth shares, valued by the market at around $2 billion, have risen 9 percent since the May listing, outperforming the benchmark S&P/ASX200, which rose 3 percent in the period. ($1 = 1.0659 Australian Dollars) (Reporting by Swati Pandey. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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