Why ICICI Prudential Life Shares Tumbled The Most Since Listing
Shares of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Ltd. fell the most since listing after the private life insurer reported a decline in premium income from savings.
The company, which announced results yesterday for the quarter ended December, had forecast growth in savings business and value of new business—both of which have declined. The stock tumbled 11 percent, it’s worst decline since listing in September 2016.
The insurer’s profit declined nearly 34 percent year-on-year to Rs 297 crore in the December-ended quarter, according to its exchange filings.
Even as the company improved sales of protection policies, premium of savings business fell 8.2 percent year-on-year to Rs 1,768 crore, resulting in a 2 percent decline in its annualised premium equivalent—a measure of an insurer’s revenue. The insurer’s value of new business also declined 8.5 percent to Rs 320 crore as the retail new business premiums fell 14 percent to Rs 1,874 crore during the period, according to BloombergQuint’s calculations.
Competition with HDFC Life Insurance Company Ltd. may have also hit ICICI Prudential’s stock price, according to Anirudh Jain, head of insurance at Centrum Group. “This is a classic case of investors jumping from one ship to another.”
Both the insurers announced their results yesterday. HDFC Life’s business grew due to strong performance of its pension and protection businesses. Its shares, however, also fell today to close 2.74 percent lower.
But Nidhesh Jain, financial services analyst at Investec Bank Plc, said panic over ICICI Prudential’s performance may be overstated. There’s no reason for such a steep correction in the stock, Jain said. “It may be due to lack of understanding of insurance business among investors who quickly reacted to a lower profit number, even though the insurer’s persistency and premium income had improved.”