By Alice Uribe

SYDNEY--Suncorp Group posted a 5.4% rise in half-year net profit, with its investment income boosted by a significant improvement in investment returns.

The Australian general insurer said Monday that net profit rose to 582 million Australian dollars (US$381.7 million) in the six months through December.

This beat a consensus estimate of A$563 million in a FactSet-compiled poll of analysts.

Suncorp's half-year revenue was A$9.65 billion, up 23% on year. Cash earnings, a measure tracked by analysts that excludes certain costs and one-time items, rose to A$660 million, from A$580 million the previous year.

"Strong equity market performance, higher running yields and favorable mark-to-market movements across the General Insurance business, resulted in higher net investment income of A$396 million, compared to A$167 million in first half fiscal 2023," said Suncorp.

Directors of the company declared an interim dividend of 34 Australian cents a share, up from 33 Australian cents a share last year.

Suncorp said it now expected gross written premium for its insurance business to be in the low to mid-teens for fiscal 2024, and kept its target for an underlying insurance trading ratio around the midpoint of the 10% to 12% range remaining for fiscal 2024.

ANZ Group Holdings' A$4.9 billion acquisition of Suncorp's banking unit got a major boost last week when the Australian Competition Tribunal allowed the deal to proceed.

Suncorp said it expected to incur A$70 million post-tax of bank separation costs in the second half of fiscal 2024.

Write to Alice Uribe at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-25-24 1655ET