TORONTO May 8 Great-West Lifeco, Canada's
second-largest life insurer, said on Thursday its first-quarter
profit rose 13.5 percent, helped by the acquisition of Irish
Life last year, but squeezed by the company's U.S. Putnam
Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Great-West, which is 71-percent
owned by Canadian holding company Power Financial Corp,
earned a net C$587 million ($540.24 million) in the quarter, or
59 Canadian cents a share, up from a year-ago profit of C$517
million, or 54 Canadian cents a share.
Analysts had expected a profit of 60 Canadian cents a share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Great-West owns insurance subsidiaries including London Life
and Canada Life, as well as Putnam Investments. Last year, the
company acquired Irish Life, Ireland's largest life and pensions
Premiums and deposits rose 41 percent to C$23.9 billion,
with C$2.9 billion of that coming from Irish Life. In total,
Irish Life contributed C$52 million to the company's bottom
line, Great-West said.
However, the results were pinched by the Putnam unit, which
posted a net loss of C$53 million in the quarter, compared with
a loss of C$14 million a year ago, and despite assets under
management that rose 14 percent to US$153.4 billion.
The Putnam result "will likely be a lightning rod for
negative sentiment," Barclays Capital analyst John Aiken said in
a note, calling the lack of improving profitability despite
rising assets "inexplicable".
The company's shares were down 2 Canadian cents at C$30.46.
($1 = 1.0866 Canadian Dollars)
(Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Marguerita Choy)