Picture: MASI LOSI
Picture: MASI LOSI

Insurance group Discovery has invested R1.2bn in preparing to launch its bank this year, it said in its interim results statement on Tuesday.

The group reported its net income grew 29% to R27.6bn and its after-tax profit 30% to R2.7bn for the six months to end-December from the matching period in 2016.

Discovery raised its interim dividend by 15% to 101c from 88c.

"Discovery’s performance over the six months exceeded expectation, enabling it to track strongly towards its stated 2018 ambition," CEO Adrian Gore said in the results statement.

Of its eight divisions, medical aid Discovery Health is by far the largest, contributing 60% of the group’s gross inflows of R60.7bn.

The medical scheme’s membership reached 2.78-million at December 31.

Discovery Health has an additional 660,000 members that are part of the 18 restricted medical schemes it administers for companies. It recently won the contract to administer BP Medical Aid Society from July 1.

Short-term insurance was Discovery’s fastest-growing business, increasing its gross inflows by 31% to R1.3bn.

Discovery Insure had more than 200,000 clients by Tuesday, the results statement said.

Profit from its credit card joint venture with First National Bank grew by 16% to R207m and revenue increased by 7% to R500m. Discovery owns 75% of the economic interest in the card business and book and FirstRand the other 25%.