UPDATE 1-AIG profit beats estimates on lower costs, shares rise

Tue Aug 2, 2016 5:03pm EDT
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(Adds details, compares with estimates)

Aug 2 (Reuters) - American International Group Inc, the largest commercial insurer in the United States and Canada, reported an operating profit that beat analysts' estimate, driven by lower costs and strong underwriting during the quarter.

Shares of the company, whose board also authorized an additional $3 billion share buyback program, were up 2.5 percent at $55.50 in extended trading on Tuesday.

AIG, which was under fire from activist investor Carl Icahn to split into three independent companies, agreed to add billionaire investor John Paulson and a member nominated by Icahn to its board in February.

"Although there are a few outside voices urging us to move faster, I want to assure you that the AIG board is fully aligned with our strategy," Chief Executive Peter Hancock said in a memo to employees on Tuesday.

"(We) are well-positioned to reach our 2017 financial targets - in fact, we're ahead of plan on our (general operating expenses) target," he said.

The company's net income rose to $1.91 billion, or $1.68 per share, for the second quarter ended June 30, from $1.80 billion, or $1.32 per share, a year earlier.

Total costs fell to $2.59 billion from $3.09 billion.

On an operating basis, the company earned 98 cents per share, beating analysts' average estimate of 93 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.   Continued...