UPDATE 1-Sun Life books loss on U.S. annuities sale

Wed Nov 6, 2013 6:05pm EST
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* Takes C$844 mln charge on U.S. annuities sale

* Operating profit tops estimates

TORONTO Nov 6 (Reuters) - Sun Life Financial, Canada's No. 3 life insurer, said on Wednesday it fell to a third-quarter net loss due to charges related to the sale of its U.S. annuities business, but operating profit topped estimates.

Toronto-based Sun Life took a C$844 million loss on the annuities business, which it sold during the quarter as part of a push to reduce its exposure to uncertain stock markets and interest rates.

On a net basis, Sun Life lost C$520 million ($499.30 million), or 84 Canadian cents a share, in the quarter, compared with a year-before profit of C$383 million, or 64 Canadian cents per share.

Excluding the impact of the sale, operating income was C$422 million, or 69 Canadian cents a share, down from a year-earlier C$459 million, or 77 Canadian cents a share.

The results beat analysts' expectations of a profit of 64 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sun Life has spent the last several quarters working to reduce its market exposure through hedging and re-aligning its business.

Operating income was reduced by C$111 million due in part to assumption changes related to insurance contract liabilities, compared to a year-earlier gain of C$164 million.   Continued...