Australian Unity first-half result

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Australian Unity, the operator of aged care, financial services and a significant health insurance business, reported revenue of $750.6 million for the six months to the end of December 2017.

The company's result was impacted by last year's sale of the Grand United corporate health insurance business to nib.

nib acquired Grand United from Australian Unity for $155.5 million.

Australian Unity reported a half-year profit of $73.3 million compared to $16.6 million for the corresponding period last year. The company said $64.8 million was a discontinued operation profit arising from the sale of Grand United.

"Excluding this sale impact, the Group’s profit after income tax from continuing operations for the half-year was $8.5 million, a result $4.3 million lower than the previous corresponding period," it said.

It attributed the lower result to $14.6 million in costs arising from a business transformation announced in October last year as well as some Grand United sale related costs attributable to continuing operations. 

The company's health insurance business reported a slight decline in the number of policyholders during the period, to just below 200,000, while total segment revenue increased by 0.7 per cent.

Earnings (EBITDA) from its health business rose 8.7 per cent, or $3 million, to $37.3 million. "The increased result was driven largely by an improved underwriting experience," said the company.

Managing director Rohan Mead said the focus of the first half of the financial year was to actively transform the company to position it for future growth.

“We have embarked on a substantial company-wide transformation program that will put us in a strong position to pursue opportunities in the large and rapidly growing markets in which we operate," he said. "The transformation has incurred significant front-end costs, which particularly impacted the first-half results, and will require continuing investment. The benefits of the transformation will be derived progressively over coming reporting periods.“