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China Life says net profit down 45% in 2008
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China Life, the country's largest insurer by premiums said on Thursday that its net profit fell 45 percent in 2008, as the huge equity investment losses mopped up gains in premium revenues.

The net profit was fell sharply from 2007's 28.12 billion yuan (US$3.25 billion) to 10.07 billion yuan, which was calculated by the Chinese accounting rules, according to the annual financial report released on Thursday.

The premium revenue rose 50.33 percent year-on-year to 295.58 billion yuan. However, the investment earnings dropped 63.7 percent from 2007 to 30.68 billion yuan.

The earnings per share was 0.36 yuan.

Liu Jiade, vice president of the company said the company faced pressure amid the falling stock market last year.

To cope with the changes, the company implemented a more "prudent" investment strategy and adjusted its investment mix by increasing the purchase of fixed-income products and scaling back stock purchases, said Liu.

By the end of last year, the deposit saving took up 24.36 percent of the total investment, up from 2007's 19.83 percent.

Stock investment comprised 7.98 percent of the total, sharply down from 2007's 22.95 percent.

The company said though uncertainties cloud the economy and the capital market this year, the company would beef up debt asset management, and keep the balance sheet healthy and stable.

President of the company Yang Chao said as the government's stimulus measures would widen insurer's investment channels, the company had confidence in China's capital market.

The company's shares closed at 22.72 yuan in the Shanghai market, up 2.67 percent.

(Xinhua News Agency March 27, 2009)

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