Bearish Year Awaits Shareholders as Equity Assurance Records Loss

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Shareholders of Equity Assurance Plc are likely to experience another bearish year with no dividend as the company has recorded a loss of N132 million for the first quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2016.

The insurance company had posted a loss of N580 million for the year ended December 31, 2015, making shareholders to stay without dividend for the year.

The firm’s Q1 performance indicates that 2016 may follow the pattern of 2015. The unaudited results of Equity Assurance, made available yesterday, showed a gross written premium of N1.389 billion in Q1 of 2016, up from N1.261 billion in the corresponding period of 2015. Net premium income stood at N893 million in 2016, compared with N913 million in 2015, while net underwritten income was N926 million as against N913 million.

The company recorded a loss in financial assets of N20.9 million in 2016 compared with N4.633 million in 2015. It posted an impairment loss of N14 million in 2016 as against none in the corresponding period of 2016.
Consequently, Equity Assurance Plc ended the Q1 with a loss of N132 million, compared with a profit of N112 million in 2015.

Another insurance company, Niger Insurance Plc ended the Q1 with a fall of 54 per cent in profit after tax. According to the unaudited results, Niger Insurance recorded gross written premium of N2.159 billion in Q1 of 2016, down from N3.048 billion in 2015. Net premium income fell from N2.697 billion to N1.990 billion, while profit after tax declined from N342 million to N158 million.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian equities market was bearish yesterday on persistent profit-taking as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index shedding 0.1 per cent to close at 27,599.48. Similarly, market capitalisation shed N12.3 billion to close at N9.5 trillion. The performance was driven by profit-taking in banking stocks. Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated depreciated by 5.0 per cent, 4.9 per cent, 2.1 per cent, 1.0 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively.
As a result, the NSE Banking Index fell by 1.3 per cent, while the NSE Oil & Gas Index went down by 1.0 per cent.