November 10, 2009 / 5:55 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 3-CI Financial profit tops analyst forecasts

* Q3 adjusted EPS C$0.25 vs Q2 EPS C$0.21

* Beats analyst estimate for EPS of C$0.22

* Boosts dividend to C$0.06

* Shares end down 1.1 percent at C$19.03 (Adds CEO comments; closing share price)

TORONTO, Nov 10 (Reuters) - CI Financial Corp (CIX.TO) said on Tuesday it boosted its dividend as adjusted earnings per share rose 19 percent in the third quarter from the second quarter, beating Street estimates.

The Toronto-based fund manager said adjusted earnings from continuing operations were 25 Canadian cents a share in the third quarter, ended Sept. 30, up from 21 Canadian cents a share in the second quarter.

The results topped analysts’ average estimates for adjusted earnings of 22 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

CI also said it boosted its monthly cash dividend by 20 percent to 6 Canadian cents a share from 5 Canadian cents a share. The new level represents a yield of 3.7 percent on CI’s Monday closing share price of C$19.25.

“The world today is significantly better than just six short months ago,” Chief Executive Bill Holland said in a conference call with analysts, adding CI’s asset levels are now less than 10 percent below all-time highs.

However, he said retail investors have yet to return in strength, given the fears caused by the recession.

“The retail investor is not where you would expect them to be in terms of their level of enthusiasm, given the market’s up almost 60 percent from low to high,” he said.

The third-quarter results did not include the results of Blackmont Capital Inc, which CI said in October it had agreed to sell to Australia’s Macquarie Group.

This was the third quarter in which the fund manager has reported as a corporation, after converting from an income trust on Jan. 1. It did not provide comparable results for the third quarter of 2008.

Instead, CI said it had earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of C$141.6 million in the third quarter, up 12 percent from C$126.1 million in the second quarter. It did not provide net earnings data.

“EBITDA is not a standardized earnings measure prescribed by GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles); however, management believes that most of its shareholders, creditors, other stakeholders and investment analysts prefer to include the use of this performance measure in analyzing CI’s results,” the company said in a statement.

The wealth management company said fee-earning assets rose 7 percent in the quarter from the previous quarter to C$93.8 billion due to a rise in global markets and positive net sales of funds.

Shares of CI closed down 22 Canadian cents, or 1.1 percent, at C$19.030 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, but were still nearly double their year low reached in February.

$1=$1.05 Canadian Reporting by Andrea Hopkins and Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Rob Wilson

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