* Fourth-quarter operating earnings $1.25/share vs est $1.18
* Derivative net losses $924 mln
* Net investment income up 6 pct at $5.2 bln
Feb 13 MetLife Inc reported a 90 percent
fall in quarterly profit on derivative losses linked to its
credit spreads but the largest U.S. life insurer's operating
profit beat estimates.
MetLife, heavily exposed to persistently low interest rates,
has long had a substantial derivatives program designed to
smooth out that risk.
But higher interest rates, foreign currency changes and
impact of the company's credit spreads resulted in derivative
net losses of $924 million, after tax, in the quarter. The
company recorded derivative net gains of $351 million a year
Low interest rates in the U.S. have led MetLife to focus on
alternative businesses to boost profit. The company agreed to
buy BBVA's Chilean pension fund for about $2 billion
earlier this month to expand its presence in emerging markets.
"We are executing on our strategy, including shifting our
business mix toward less capital-intensive products," Chief
Executive Steven Kandarian said in a statement.
The company's net income fell to $96 million, or 9 cents per
share, in the fourth quarter, from $959 million, or 90 cents per
share, a year earlier.
Operating profit was $1.25 per share.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.18 per
share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Operating earnings for the company's Americas region rose 21
percent to $1.3 billion, driven by Latin America.
Net investment income for the quarter was at $10.59 billion.
"Early this year, MetLife decided to place greater emphasis
on U.S. individual life sales .... Looks like the strategy is
paying off," Morningstar equity analyst Vincent Lui said.
MetLife shares closed at $37.50 on the New York Stock
Exchange on Wednesday. They have gained 16 percent in the last
three months, outperforming the 13 percent rise in Dow Jones
U.S. Insurance Index.