Discovery resumes dividends as profits grow

Adrian Gore

Discovery reported solid results for the 2023 financial year and resumed dividends for the company’s shareholders.

Discovery released its results for the year ended 30 June 2023 today, which revealed a strong performance.

Discovery CEO Adrian Gore said, “Discovery’s three business composites – South Africa, United Kingdom and Vitality Global – delivered excellent performances in line with the Group’s strategy and ambition.”

For the reporting period, Discovery posted an increase in normalised profit from operations, up 24% from R9.38 billion to R11.66 billion. 

Headline earnings increased by 5% to R5.49 billion, normalised headline earnings increased by 32% to R7.68 billion, and core new business annual premium income rose 12% to R22.79 billion. 

“In a year characterised by significant macroeconomic uncertainty, Discovery continued its focus on delivering quality earnings and cashflow with a strong balance sheet while following a clear growth strategy for each composite,” the company said.

“The Group invested in its proprietary Vitality Shared-value model and intensified the focus on key initiatives while closing business areas with marginal benefits.”

Discovery reported high levels of liquidity, and its financial leverage ratio (FLR) improved to 20%. 

“Organic cash generation was robust during the year following growth in quality earnings, a significant recovery in Discovery Life’s cash generation following elevated Covid-19-related claims in the previous reporting period, and the reduction in the cost of new initiatives.” 

Discovery’s South Africa Composite’s normalised operating profit increased by 22% to R9.1 billion and new business by 11% to R16.82 billion. 

Discovery Health showed strong growth across all metrics, the company said. Discovery Life also had a resilient performance, with Group Life returning to profit. 

Discovery Invest generated significant profit growth of 30% compared to the previous year due to higher investment markets and other in-period gains. 

The company said Discovery Bank continued with excellent progress across all metrics and acquired quality clients over the year.

However, Discovery Bank made a normalised loss of R767 million for the year.

The UK Composite‘s normalised operating profit increased by 14% to £83.4 million (up 21% to R1.79 million). 

Vitality Global increased operating profits by 49% to US$44 million (74% to R777 million). 

Discovery said its robust balance sheet and cash positions support the resumption of dividends, and the directors declared a final gross cash dividend of 110 cents per ordinary share.