Liberty sees first-half improvement

Liberty Holdings said it expects first-half earnings will be at least 20% better than the previous year, signalling the worst may be over for the insurer.

South Africa’s second-largest insurer has been hit by the economic downturn, as debt-saddled customers allowed their policies to lapse, pushing it to a loss for the first-half last year.

Africa’s biggest economy has since emerged from recession, but consumer demand remains muted due to high unemployment and debt.

Liberty, majority owned by South African lender Standard Bank, said on Thursday it expects an improvement of at least 20% in headline earnings for the six months to end-June.

Headline earnings are the main profit gauge in South Africa and strip out certain one-time and financial items.—Reuters

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