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Shares in Challenger Financial are weaker after the retirement funds manager’s first-half profit was hit by a drop in the value of its investments.

The company has $77 billion in assets under management and is a leading provider of annuities.

Challenger’s net profit of $195 million in the six months to December 31 was down three per cent from a year earlier, due to falls in its investments in equities and infrastructure.

Its underlying profit, which the company says better reflects its operating performance, was up six per cent at $208 million.

Challenger said it is still well positioned to reach its full-year pre-tax underlying profit guidance of between $545 million and $565 million, an increase of between eight and 12 per cent on 2016/17.

Challenger shares were down 20 cents, or 1.6 per cent, at $12.64 at 1145 AEDT.