* Earnings per share of C$0.34 vs expectations of C$0.35
* Asset levels up 17 pct from yr ago
* Market weakness led to fall in AUM of 1.8 pct in July
* Shares close up 1 percent at C$20.40 on TSX
(Adds CEO comments, updates shares)
By John McCrank
TORONTO, Aug 9 CI Financial Corp (CIX.TO) said
on Tuesday that higher asset levels led to a 9.8 percent gain
in its quarterly earnings, just a tad off expectations, but
that recent market weakness was pressuring assets under
Canada's No. 3 investment fund company, which is 36-percent
owned by Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), said it earned C$98.3
million ($100 million), or 34 Canadian cents a share, in the
second quarter, up from C$89.5 million, or 31 Canadian cents a
share, a year earlier.
The earnings per share were a penny shy of the average
expectation of analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S,
and the company's shares ended the session up 1 percent at
C$20.40, on a day that saw the broader Canadian market gain
nearly 4 percent.
Speaking on a conference call, CI Chief Executive Stephen
MacPhail said the fund manager was eyeing acquisitions in the
United States and would be prepared to pay to take advantage of
depressed valuations in the wake of the recent equities
"If it was a brilliant opportunity north of $1 billion, we
wouldn't say no to that," MacPhail said.
He said the company would also be examining opportunities
for share buybacks.
Total revenues were up 14.7 percent at C$385.5 million,
slightly below the C$387 million expected by analysts.
Gross sales of funds were C$2.52 billion, flat from a year
earlier, while net sales of funds came in at C$309 million,
versus $310 million a year ago.
CI said its total assets, which include mutual, segregated,
and hedge funds, separately managed accounts, structured
products, pooled assets, and assets under administration, were
up 17 percent from a year earlier at C$97.16 billion.
Assets under management (AUM) rose 19 percent to C$74.28
billion at the end of the quarter, due to gains made by
financial markets over the last year and a rise in sales of
CI's investment products.
The recent market weakness has taken a toll on CI's AUM,
with assets down 1.8 percent at C$72.9 billion at the end of
July from the end of June, the company said.
CI stock ended the session up 20 Canadian cents at C$20.40
on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
(Additional reporting by Cameron French; editing by Rob