Shanghai private investment conglomerate Fosun International has readied several billion-yuan in investments after profit grew 9 per cent in the first half of the year thanks to one-off gains.
Fosun posted net profit of 1.7 billion yuan (HK$2.1 billion), but revenue fell 7 per cent to 24 billion yuan due to a drop in industrial operations. Earnings at Fosun's pharmaceutical segment grew 27 per cent from the previous year and steel profits surged 19-fold. But these gains were offset by a 90 per cent fall in property development profits.
The company, which deals in insurance, industrial operations, investment and asset management, said the profit boost came from the rise in share values and the sale of subsidiaries. No interim dividend was declared.
Vice-chairman Liang Xinjun said that in the second half Fosun would invest in industries that would benefit from China's urbanisation push, such as retail and healthcare, while looking for opportunities overseas.
He said that early next month the company would announce a multibillion-yuan investment in a global brand followed by investments of several billion yuan in retail projects and a finance project in Europe.
President Wang Qunbin said the investments would be financed by the firm's cash flow, bank loans and cash from selling other investments and the newly profitable insurance segment.
Liang said Fosun's insurance segment, which comprises Pramerica Fosun Life Insurance, Yong'an P&C Insurance and Peak Reinsurance, turned a profit for the first time, earning 95.5 million yuan. In the long term, insurance could become one of the group's core businesses, accounting for 30 to 40 per cent of asset management in seven to eight years, he said.
Fosun shares closed down 3 per cent at HK$5.45 yesterday, while the Hang Seng Index slid 1.6 per cent.