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China Life '08 net down over 50%
Updated: 2009-01-21 13:46

China Life, the country's biggest life insurer, told the Shanghai Stock Exchange Wednesday that its 2008 unaudited net profit fell more than 50 percent from a year earlier.

In its statement, the insurer said the preliminary estimate was based on Chinese accounting standards.

China Life didn't give a net profit figure, but its net profit for 2007 was 28.1 billion yuan (US$4.1 billion), or 0.99 yuan per share.

Listed companies in China must issue unaudited statements under three conditions: if profits fall more than 50 percent, if they move from a profit to a loss, or if they expect to report a loss regardless of the previous comparable period results.

Audited 2008 annual results are due on March 26.

The profit slump mainly reflected sharp declines in domestic equity returns, tougher competition in the insurance market and increases in compensation for disaster-related claims, China Life said.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index plunged 65 percent last year on concerns about an economic slowdown, the grim corporate outlook and an oversupply of shares.

China was hit by a major earthquake last May, as well as unusually severe and prolonged storms last winter.