May 10, 2016 / 10:07 PM / 2 years ago

Sun Life profit beats hopes, helped by strong U.S. growth

* Q1 underlying EPS C$0.95 vs forecast C$0.90

* Net income rises across four main businesses

TORONTO, May 10 (Reuters) - Sun Life Financial Inc on Tuesday reported a 13 percent increase in underlying net income in the first quarter, exceeding estimates as it benefited from strong growth in the United States and Canada.

Canada’s third-biggest life-insurer said its underlying net income, which excludes the impact of interest rates and equity market movements, rose to C$582 million or 95 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with C$516 million, or 84 Canadian cents per share, in the same period last year.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 90 Canadian cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Underlying net income in Canada rose to C$218 million from C$201 million in the same period the previous year while underlying net income from its U.S. business rose by 37 percent to C$111 million. The company also increased its profit in Asia and at its asset management business.

“In a quarter characterized by volatile equity markets and low interest rates, we delivered earnings growth across all of our four pillars,” said Chief Executive Officer Dean Connor.

Sun Life, whose rivals include Manulife Financial Corp and Great West Lifeco Inc, raised its quarterly dividend to 40.5 Canadian cents per share, up 4 percent on the previous quarter. (Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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