* Net profit rises on markets
* Core profit just ahead of estimates
* Cuts 2015 profit target due to sale of annuities business
TORONTO, Aug 7 Sun Life Financial said on
Wednesday its second-quarter net profit more than
quadrupled due to a stronger contribution from financial
markets, but the insurer cuts its 2015 earnings target on the
sale of its U.S. annuities business.
Sun Life earned C$399 million ($382.75 million), or 65
Canadian cents a share, in the quarter, up from C$90 million, or
15 Canadian cents a share, in the year-before period.
Equity and bond market movements added C$62 million to the
company's bottom line, a sharp contrast to the C$320 million
earnings hit the insurer took from weak markets in the
Sun Life has spent the last several quarters working to
reduce its market exposure and just last week closed the sale of
its U.S. annuities business, which carries sizable market
exposures, for C$1.35 billion.
Excluding the impact of financial markets as well as the
U.S. annuities business, operating profit from continuing
operations was C$431 million, or 71 Canadian cents a share, up
from C$250 million, or 42 Canadian cents a share.
Analysts had expected, on average, a profit of 67 Canadian
cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"It looks to be a small beat on the headline," said Robert
Sedran, an analyst at CIBC World Markets.
While the U.S. annuities sale is expected to reduce earnings
volatility for the company, it also has a negative earnings
impact in the medium term.
Due largely to the deal, Sun Life said it is reducing its
2015 operating profit target to C$1.85 billion from C$2 billion.
As part of the new target, Sun Life raised its profit
expectations from its MFS asset management business, but cut the
expected contribution from its Asian unit.
Variable annuities - retirement products that guarantee the
investor a minimum monthly payment - became a source of earnings
volatility for Sun Life in the wake of the 2008 financial