Liberty's 2008 profit declines

Listed insurer Liberty Holding’s profit for the year 2008 declined as its investments were hit by lower equity markets, it said on Thursday as it released its annual results.

For the year ended December 31 2008, the group’s basic earnings per share decreased by 32,6% and BEE normalised headline earnings per share (adjusted for the effects of a black economic empowerment deal) decreased by 47,8%.

However, the company said it was “making great strides” in implementing its growth strategy.

“We are firmly focused on maintaining financial strength in the current economic environment, while transforming and diversifying the group for the benefit of customers and shareholders,” said CEO Bruce Hemphill.

“Liberty’s diversification—into new geographical markets, product sets and distribution channels—should provide increasing stability in current market conditions.”

He added it was this broadening of the group’s interests that was also positioning it for future growth—maximising the potential of the business, and creating sustainable long-term value for customers and shareholders.

“The environment is so unsettled that even predicting short-term business outcomes is difficult and we expect the volatile economic conditions to continue in 2009.

“Despite this, Liberty is well capitalised, our approach in 2008 stood us in good stead and we will continue to focus on risk and capital management and prudently continue with our diversification strategy in 2009.”—Sapa

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