By Andrea Hopkins
TORONTO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Canadian fund manager AGF Management Ltd reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings on Wednesday and said it intends to renew its share repurchase program.
Fourth-quarter net income from continuing operations fell to C$13.0 million from C$18.0 million a year earlier. Revenue and assets under management declined 14.9 percent amid weak investor confidence and an overall industry slump.
But earnings per share were higher than expected at C$0.14. Analysts' average forecast was C$0.12, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"We view AGF's earnings quite positively and believe that it should relieve some of the concerns driving an overhang in its valuation," Barclays analyst John Aiken said in a research note.
"Core earnings came in ahead of expectations as cost controls appear to be occurring sooner and stronger than anticipated by the market. This should be positive for consensus earnings expectations," he added.
AGF said assets under management decreased 14.9 percent to C$39.2 billion at Nov. 30, 2012, as a result of net redemptions in institutional and sub-advisory accounts.
"We recognize that 2012 posed clear challenges for the investment management industry and AGF," Chief Executive Blake Goldring said in a statement.
The firm said it is seeking regulatory approval for another normal-course issuer bid, which Aiken said implied plans to buy back 10 percent of the outstanding shares.