Sun Life profit boosted by restructuring gain

TORONTO Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:45pm EST

TORONTO (Reuters) - Sun Life Financial Inc (SLF.TO), Canada's No. 3 life insurer, reported better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, helped by higher assets under management and a C$290 million gain related to the restructuring of internal reinsurance arrangements.

On a continuing operations basis, which excludes losses from Sun Life's sale of its U.S. annuities business last year, operating income was C$642 million, or C$1.05 a share, up from C$333 million, or 56 Canadian cents a share a year earlier.

That result topped the profit of 68 Canadian cents a share expected by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters' I/B/E/S.

Toronto-based Sun Life sold the annuities business in the third quarter as part of a push to reduce its exposure to uncertain stock markets and interest rates.

Sun Life, which also owns U.S. investment manager MFS and has a growing presence in Asia, has spent the last several quarters working to reduce its market exposure through hedging and re-aligning its business.

On a combined operations basis, net profit rose to C$550 million, or 90 Canadian cents a share, from C$395 million, or 65 Canadian cents a share.

Assets under management rose by 20 percent to C$639.8 billion, while premiums and deposits totaled C$30.3 billion in the quarter, down 5 percent from the year-before period due to lower sales of managed funds.

(Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Andre Grenon, Bernard Orr)