Great West Lifeco profit jumps on one-time gain

Thu Feb 9, 2012 1:40pm EST
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Great-West Lifeco (GWO.TO: Quote), Canada's No. 2 insurer, said its profit jumped 34 percent in the fourth quarter, boosted by funds that were freed up from a reserve that had been set aside for litigation.

Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Great-West, which is 72 percent-owned by Power Financial Corp (PWF.TO: Quote), earned C$624 million ($628 million), or 65 Canadian cents a share, in the three months ended December 31. That compared with a year-before profit of C$465 million, or 49 Canadian cents a share.

The result was in line with analysts' expectations for a profit of 49 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net profit was helped by a C$124 million reduction in litigation provisions originally taken in 2010.

Great-West, which operates under the Canada Life, London Life and Putnam Investments banners, is the only Canadian insurer expected to turn a profit this quarter, as competitors are seen reeling from one-time charges and the impact of weak markets.

Earlier on Thursday, rival Manulife Financial (MFC.TO: Quote) said it fell to a quarterly loss due to weaker sales and a big writedown.

($1=$0.99 Canadian)

(Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Peter Galloway)