March 2, 2018 / 6:27 AM / 21 days ago

South African insurer Liberty FY profit up 8 percent

JOHANNESBURG, March 2 (Reuters) - South African insurer Liberty Holdings reported an 8 percent rise in annual profit on Friday, a sign that a turnaround strategy under a new chief executive is bearing fruit.

Normalised headline EPS, the main profit measure in South Africa that strips out one-off items, came in at 2,719 cents in the year ended December compared with a 2,527 cents a year earlier.

Liberty, a unit of lender Standard Bank, is in the middle of a turnaround plan that includes greater focus on higher margin products and slower offshore expansion under new chief executive David Munro, who took the reigns almost a year ago from Thabo Dloti.

Dloti resigned after clashing with the board over his acquisition-fueled expansion strategy across Africa at the expense of what Standard Bank has said was the neglect of the vast, largely untapped lower-income market at home.

“We are confident that the group will emerge from this period of change with significantly greater potential to serve the needs of all stakeholders, the company said. (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng Editing by Ed Stoddard)

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