May 2, 2018 / 9:27 PM / 10 months ago

MetLife quarterly profit rises 8 percent, helped by tax reform, Asia growth

FILE PHOTO: A statue stands atop Grand Central Station in front of the MetLife building in New York, October 8, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

(Reuters) - MetLife Inc (MET.N) reported an 8 percent rise in adjusted first-quarter profit on Wednesday, boosted by U.S. tax reforms, as well as volume growth in Asia and better results in auto and catastrophe businesses.

The U.S. insurer reported adjusted earnings of $1.4 billion, or $1.36 per share, compared to $1.3 billion, or $1.20 per share in the same period of 2017.

Analysts were expecting a quarterly profit of $1.17 per share, on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. It was not immediately clear if the numbers were comparable.

MetLife shares rose 2.3 percent to $46.10 in afterhours trading.

The insurer’s adjusted profit strips out the effect of wild swings in derivatives values, which hurt MetLife’s results last year. The gap between its net income and adjusted profit has narrowed, which shows that the company has been taking the right steps to reduce exposure to market volatility, MetLife Chief Executive Officer Steven Kandarian said in a statement.

MetLife has been working to regain investor confidence after two financial reporting errors for 2017. On Tuesday, it said Treasurer John McCallion would take over as chief financial officer from John Hele, who is retiring.

Two other large U.S. insurers, American International Group Inc (AIG.N) and Prudential Financial Inc (PRU.N) also reported results on Wednesday afternoon. AIG’s profit fell 21 percent due to higher catastrophe claims and weaker investment income, while Prudential got a profit boost from its annuities business.

Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra and Diane Craft

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