* Results beat estimates
* Expects 2013 earnings of C$3.00-C$3.40/shr
TORONTO Feb 15 Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services returned to profit in the fourth quarter, helped by steady markets and asset growth.
The company, Canada's fourth-largest life insurer, earned C$73.8 million ($73.7 million), or 78 Canadian cents a share, in the fourth quarter.
That compared with a year-earlier loss of C$81.2 million, or 90 Canadian cents a share, when the company took a C$152 million charge to offset the impact of falling bond yields and equity markets.
Stronger markets this year allowed Industrial Alliance to take a much smaller markets-related hit, as it absorbed a C$19.9 million charge to strengthen its actuarial reserves to account for low interest rates and other assumptions.
Excluding certain items, the company earned 81 Canadian cents a share. Analysts expected 73 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Assets under management and administration rose 13.6 percent to C$83.3 billion, while premiums and deposits were C$1.8 billion, which the company said was comparable with the year-before period.
For the full year, the company earned C$3.31 a share. It said it expects to earn C$3.00 to C$3.40 a share in 2013.
Quebec City-based Industrial alliance is the last of Canada top four life insurers to report fourth-quarter results.
Manulife Financial and Sun Life Financial also both rebounded to fourth-quarter profits from year-earlier losses, helped by stronger investments, while Great-West Lifeco reported a 43 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit on litigation costs.