May 14, 2012 / 5:28 PM / 6 years ago

Power Financial profit flat in first quarter

(Reuters) - Canadian financial services company Power Financial (PWF.TO) reported a flat quarterly profit on Monday as higher insurance earnings were offset by slower sales of mutual funds, but gains from the sale of two European assets bolstered the bottom line.

The Montreal-based company said it had an operating profit of C$372 million ($372 million), or 52 Canadian cents a share, in the first quarter, compared with C$370 million, or 52 Canadian cents a share, in the year-before period.

But profit was up another C$83 million, to C$455 million or 64 Canadian cents a share, when gains from the partial sale of wine and spirits maker Pernod Ricard and French chemical producer Arkema are included in the results. The gain compares with a charge of C$2 million in the first quarter of 2011.

Power Financial owns majority stakes in Canada’s No. 2 insurer, Great-West Lifeco (GWO.TO), and Canada’s biggest asset manager, IGM Financial (IGM.TO).

Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Great-West said earlier this month it earned C$451 million, or 47.5 Canadian cents a share, in the first quarter. Its contribution to Power Financial’s operating earnings was C$306 million, up from C$284 million a year earlier.

IGM profits fell 3.7 percent to C$200 million or 78 cents per share, down from C$211 million or 81 cents per share in the prior year. Its contribution to Power Financial’s operating earnings was C$114 million, compared with C$121 million for the corresponding period in 2011.

Power Financial’s stock was little changed in midday trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange at C$27.07.

($1=$1.00 Canadian)

Reporting By Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Peter Galloway and M.D. Golan

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