WELLINGTON May 28 New Zealand insurance company
Tower Ltd reported an 87 percent rise in half year
profit on Tuesday as it sold off businesses to focus on general
insurance, promising to distribute sale proceeds to
The company said profit after tax for the six months to
March 31 was NZ$44.2 million ($35.9 million) compared with
NZ23.6 million in the same period last year.
Since last November, the company has sold its health
insurance business to Australian firm NIB for NZ$79 million, its
funds management business to Fisher Funds for NZ$102 million,
and most of its life insurance business to Fidelity Life
Assurance for NZ$189 million.
"Tower is now strongly positioned to concentrate on being a
simpler, dynamic and more agile business in a sector that is
poised for growth," retiring managing director Rob Flannagan
said in a statement.
Tower had already distributed NZ$120 million to shareholders
and would distribute a further NZ$114.5 million once the sale of
its life business was completed.
It said it had increased its provisions for Christchurch
earthquake related claims by NZ$14.2 million.
Shares in Tower closed on Monday at NZ$1.70. The stock has
fallen about 9 percent so far this year, compared with an 11
percent rise in the benchmark top-50 index.
The company declared an unchanged interim dividend of five
cents a share, and said the new-shaped business would look at a
dividend distribution of 90 to 100 percent of net profit.
The company, which split its New Zealand and Australian
operations into separate listed entities in 2006, has said it
will concentrate and develop its general insurance business.