Manulife delays C$4 billion profit target

Thu Nov 8, 2012 11:14am EST
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By Cameron French

(Reuters) - Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO: Quote) has pushed out its profit goal of C$4 billion by a year to 2016, citing macro-economic conditions, although its quarterly loss narrowed due to stronger financial markets-related results during the quarter.

The improved markets performance helped to offset a C$1 billion charge related to a shift in actuarial assumptions, Canada's largest life insurer said on Thursday.

Manulife's net loss of C$227 million ($228 million), or 14 Canadian cents per share, in the three months ended September 30, compared with a year-earlier loss of C$1.28 billion, or 73 Canadian cents per share.

The result topped analysts' estimates for a net loss of 31 Canadian cents per share.

The company took an C$88 million loss due to equity market and interest rate movements during the quarter, but that compared to a much larger C$889 million markets-related loss in the year-earlier quarter.

Volatile markets have led to sharp variances in the company's quarter-to-quarter results since the 2008 financial crisis.

"It was pretty much an in-line quarter, which is unusual. Usually something comes out of the blue that changes my view of the company. That didn't happen," said Peter Routledge, an analyst at national Bank Financial.

Toronto-based Manulife, which owns U.S. insurer John Hancock, warned in August it would take the C$1 billion charge due to its annual review of actuarial assumptions. That charge relates to the current macro-economic climate on some of Manulife's insurance and annuity products.   Continued...