UPDATE 1-Sun Life swings to 3rd-quarter profit on investment results

Wed Nov 7, 2012 6:04pm EST

* EPS 0.64 vs year-before loss of C$1.07

* Stronger markets results drive gain

* Sun Life second Canadian life insurer to report

TORONTO, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Sun Life Financial swung back to a third-quarter profit due to better results from the insurer's investments, it said on Wednesday.

Sun Life, Canada's No. 3 life insurer, earned a net C$383 million ($384.63 million), or 64 Canadian cents a share, in the third quarter ended Sept 30.

That compared to a year-earlier loss of C$621 million, or C$1.07 a share, a year earlier, when the company's results were derailed by the impact of weak markets.

On an operating basis, the company earned 68 Canadian cents a share.

Analysts had expected a profit of 63 Canadian cents a share on an operating basis, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Stronger stock markets added C$89 million to the company's bottom line during the quarter it said, although bond yield movements cut profit to the tune of C$64 million.

Under Canadian accounting rules, insurers must use profits to bulk up reserves to ensure expected returns from their stock and bond portfolios match policy obligations.

Sun Life said it expects net income for the 2013 to 2015 period to be reduced by up to C$500 million if low bond rates persist.

Sun Life has moved to reduce its market exposure under Chief Executive Dean Connor, who took over late last year.

Total premiums and deposits rose to C$1.41 billion from C$1.36 billion a year earlier.

The company has a target of C$2 billion in annual operating income by 2015.

Sun Life is the second Canadian life insurer to report third-quarter results.

Earlier on Wednesday, Industrial Alliance, Canada's No. 4 insurer, said it earned C$105.5 million, or C$1.11 a share, in the third quarter ended Sept 30. That was up from a year-before profit of C$45.7 million, or 52 Canadian cents a share.

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