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China Life says profit may double in first half
2007-07-29 08:30:03 Xinhua English

BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) -- China Life, the country's largest life insurer, said its net profit may more than double in the first half of 2007 from a year earlier.

The insurer said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange that the increase in net profit came after it gained higher premiums as well as investment earnings.

Its net profit hit 7.4 billion yuan (977.6 million U.S. dollars) in the first half of last year. The earnings per share was 0.28 yuan when its total capital was 26.76 billion shares before issuing 1.5 billion A-shares late 2006.

China Life recorded premiums of 121.3 billion yuan (16.0 billion U.S. dollars) over the past six months, up 8.9 percent from the previous year.

Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, the nation's second largest life insurer, announced Tuesday its net profit is also likely to jump more than 100 percent year on year in the first half due to investment earnings increase and growth of insurance and banking businesses.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) has recently raised insurers' investment caps and expand their investment options both at home and abroad to compensate for higher interest rate at home.

The CIRC announced Wednesday to allow domestic insurers to invest in foreign fixed income bonds, stocks, warrants and other markets via their own foreign exchanges or buying foreign exchanges. The overseas investment cap was 15 percent of their total assets at the end of the previous year.

The CIRC earlier doubled their investment ceiling on domestic stock market from five percent to 10 percent of their assets to cash in on more higher earnings investment opportunities on the red-hot domestic equity markets.

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