* Q2 EPS C$0.46 versus C$0.44 year earlier
* Analysts estimated EPS of C$0.45 (Adds details, background)
TORONTO, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Great West Lifeco Inc (GWO.TO), Canada’s No. 2 life insurer, said on Wednesday its profit rose nearly 5 percent in the second quarter amid strong sales in key markets.
The Winnipeg-based insurer said its profit rose to C$433 million ($424 million), or 45.7 Canadian cents a share, from C$413 million, or 43.7 Canadian cents a share in the year-ago period.
Analysts, on average, had expected the company to earn 45 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Consolidated assets under administration at June 30 were $460.2 billion, up $1.6 billion from Dec. 31, 2009.
“The company experienced solid earnings growth in the local currencies of all regions in which it operates,” Great West said in a statement.
It said, however, that it was hurt by the stronger Canadian currency.
“The continued strengthening of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar, the British pound and the euro had a negative currency impact on Lifeco’s net earnings of C$33 million or C$0.035 per common share in the second quarter of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009,” it said.
Shares of Great West closed 0.45 percent higher at C$25.20 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, before the company’s results were released.
The stock has fluctuated between a year high of C$29.24 and C$25.02.
The result follows a 35 percent rise in profit in the first quarter to C$441 million, when sales of Canadian insurance and U.S. retirement products surged, and stock market gains boosted investments.
$1=$1.02 Canadian Reporting by Pav Jordan; editing by Rob Wilson