Discovery falls after warning of profit drop on virus provisions

A nurse pushes a patient into surgery (Getty)
A nurse pushes a patient into surgery (Getty)

Discovery [JSE:DSY] shares fell the most in two months after the country's largest medical-insurance administrator said full-year profit will drop because of provisions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Normalised earnings per share for the 12 months through June is expected to decline by 20% to 30% compared with a year earlier, the company said Monday. Discovery, which also owns an insurer, money manager and a rewards program, won’t be paying a dividend as it set aside R3.3 billion for potential claims and policy lapses.

"The operating environment is complex and volatile and scenarios going forward may be worse than expected, in which case the group’s growth would be lower than expected," Discovery said in a statement. "The group is confident that it maintains sufficient liquidity and solvency to weather uncertain conditions."

The stock tumbled as much as 6.8%, the biggest decline since April 16, before paring losses to trade 3.1% by 10:29. It was the worst performer in the five-member South African life insurance index, which was down 2.3%.

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