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Strong nib NZ 1H and outlook leads to Group guidance update

Strong nib New Zealand first half earnings and outlook leads to Group guidance update

nib holdings limited (ASX: NHF) today announced that its New Zealand operations delivered strong earnings growth in the first half of fiscal 2018, with underlying operating profit (UOP) up 20.2%1 to NZ$14.2 million (AU$13.1 million). In addition, NZD premium revenue rose $1.3 million to $106.4 million. The first half performance combined with a positive outlook for the remainder of the fiscal year has resulted in nib upgrading its consolidated full year guidance.

In its first half results statement issued to the ASX this morning, nib announced that at a Group level UOP rose 1.3% to AU$96.4 million for the six months to 31 December 2017 while Group revenue increased 8.6% to just over [AU]$1 billion compared with the previous corresponding period. nib confirmed that full year UOP was now expected to be at least AU$165.0 million (previously at least AU$155.0 million).

nib New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Rob Hennin said the strong earnings result demonstrates the important and growing role nib today plays in helping Kiwis access and afford world class healthcare.

“Every day we help thousands of Kiwis fund their healthcare and provide peace of mind they are covered in their time of need,” Mr Hennin said.

“In the six months to 31 December 2017 we paid almost NZ$65 million in benefits on behalf of our more than 200,000 customers. Whether it be life lifesaving cancer treatment, helping customers pay for a GP visit or even everyday preventative health such as visiting a dentist or buying new glasses, nib has been there to help our customers access and pay for their healthcare needs.

“Our First Choice network, which we kicked off in September last year, is also proving popular with our customers by providing them with medical services and treatment within a determined price range. This is delivering real value by eliminating unexpected out of pocket costs as well as keeping premiums affordable,” he added.

Mr Hennin said overall nib New Zealand results made a strong contribution to the nib Group first half result.

“Our performance first half reflects the significant investment we are making in growth opportunities while continuing our focus on delivering value to our customers and achieving impressive operational efficiencies,” Mr Hennin said.

“We’ve made good progress this year in expanding our direct-to-consumer segment as well as our industry leading white label capability, recently welcoming Stuff to our stable of partners such as the New Zealand Automobile Association.

“Providing New Zealanders with health and medical insurance that is affordable but also easy to use also saw us launch a range of products during the year designed for millennials, new families and migrant families. And we have a number of new bundled product initiatives as well as other exciting partnerships which we expect to bring to the market in the coming months,” Mr Hennin added.

nib also confirmed plans to launch Whitecoat in the New Zealand market this calendar year to help people search, compare and make an appointment with health providers online.

“Just like TripAdvisor revolutionised the travel world, Whitecoat’s mission is to do the same for healthcare and it’s already making a significant impact in Australia. The website puts healthcare information, bookings and payments into the hands of consumers like never before and will be a New Zealand first,” Mr Hennin said.

“It’s all about empowering our customers to make better and more informed choices when selecting a provider by allowing them to read reviews, consider overall ratings from other patients and book online. It’s a tool which will be available to all New Zealanders, not just nib’s customers, to help them navigate the healthcare industry and help them choose and book a medical provider of their choice,” he said.

nib declared an interim 1H18 fully franked dividend of AU9.0 cents per share (1H17: AU8.5 cents per share). The interim dividend has an ex-dividend date and record date of 1 and 2 March 2018 respectively, with the interim dividend to be paid on 3 April 2018.

nib now expects consolidated UOP for the full year FY18 to be at least AU$165 million (versus previous estimate of at least AU$155 million) with statutory profit at least AU$148 million.

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