REFILE-China Life Insurance profit falls on lower investment gains

Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:30am EDT

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HONG KONG, April 25 (Reuters) - China Life Insurance Co Ltd , the country's biggest insurer by market value, posted a 28 percent fall in first- quarter profit as its investments rose less than in the same period last year.

China Life posted net profit of 7.23 billion yuan in the first three months of the year compared with 10.08 billion yuan a year earlier, the company said in a stock exchange filing on Friday.

Last month, China Life reported a 124 percent jump in full-year 2013 profit, below forecasts from analysts who had expected an even bigger recovery in insurers' equity portfolios.

The swings in Chinese insurers' reported profits are due to the way they mark to market their holdings of stocks in China, which have fluctuated heavily in recent years.

China's insurance regulator said earlier this month it had relaxed rules on mergers and acquisitions in the industry, in a move that could spark consolidation among smaller, weaker players.

Shares in China Life closed down 1.45 percent in Hong Kong on Friday, ahead of the announcement. That was in line with the Hang Seng Index. (Reporting By Lawrence White and Chyen Yee Lee; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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