CI Financial profit rises, company increases dividend

Thu Nov 6, 2014 11:39am EST
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TORONTO Nov 6 (Reuters) - Canadian asset manager CI Financial Corp reported a 25 percent rise in profit on Thursday, matching expectations, as average assets under management rose 20 percent to hit a record, but costs remained low.

CI also increased its monthly dividend by C$0.005 to 10.5 Canadian cents per share, payable on the 15th of December, January and February to shareholders of record at the end of each respective month.

CI shares rose 1.8 percent to C$33.70 on the Toronto Stock Exchange late morning.

"Although earnings were in line with consensus expectations and the 5 percent lift in the dividend matched our expectations, we view the results quite positively," said Barclays analyst, John Aiken, in a client note.

"Not only is CI increasing its AUM at the fastest pace among its peers, it is further increasing its efficiency advantage, with greater amounts falling to the bottom line."

For the third quarter ended Sept. 30, net income rose 25 percent to C$135.1 million, or 48 Canadian cents a share, from C$107.8 million, or 38 Canadian cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Average assets under management during the quarter reached a record high of C$101.02 billion, while expenses as a percentage of that grew at half the pace.

Net sales fell 18 percent to C$702 million during the quarter. Free cash flow rose to C$148 million from C$119 million a year earlier. (Reporting by Solarina Ho Editing by W Simn)