Medibank shares are tanking

Photo: Agung Parameswara/ Getty Images.

Shares in Medibank Private fell sharply after the health insurer reiterated a forecast of lower profit in the second half of the year than the first six months.

A short time ago, the shares were down 5.5% to $3.10.

The company, in a presentation to the Macquarie Bank investor conference, essentially gave the same advice as it did when releasing its half year results.

Medibank, which raised $5.7 billion in Australia’s biggest float in November 2014, expects premium revenue growth of between 4.5% and 5.0%.

The company in January flagged a profit of more than $470 million, up from previous guidance of $370 million. Today the company stayed with that number.

“The second half operating profit will be lower than the first half,” according to the company’s presentation to the conference.

The result will be impacted by plans to increase marketing and brand investment.

For the half year to December, net profit after tax was $227.6 million, up from $143.8 million.

The company last year posted a full year net profit of $291.8 million, beating its own prospectus forecast of $258.2 million.

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