February 12, 2009 / 7:22 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Great-West posts loss on hit from Putnam charges

* Q4 share loss C$1.011, vs year-earlier profit C$0.601

* More than C$1.4 bln in charges tied to Putnam fund unit

* Shares extend losses after results (Adds details)

TORONTO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Great-West Lifeco Inc (GWO.TO), Canada’s second-largest insurer by market value, reported a big quarterly loss on Thursday as it took more than C$1.4 billion ($1.1 billion) in charges related to its Boston-based Putnam money management unit.

Great-West reported a loss of C$907 million, or C$1.011 a share, in its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. That compared with a profit of C$537 million, or 60.1 Canadian cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

The insurer said adjusted net income from continuing operations was 58.6 Canadian cents per common share in the quarter.

Analysts had expected earnings before exceptional items of 46 Canadian cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Shares of the insurer, already weak ahead of the results, extended losses to trade down 53 Canadian cents at C$18.02 early on Thursday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The insurer, controlled by Montreal-based Power Financial (PWF.TO), took a series of hefty charges related to the Putnam Investments operation it acquired in 2007.

This included a noncash impairment charge of C$1.35 billion after-tax in connection with Putnam’s goodwill and intangible assets.

“The impairment charge primarily reflects the significant deterioration in financial markets since the acquisition by Lifeco in August 2007,” the company said in a statement.

“This charge did not impact the regulatory capital ratios of Lifeco’s operating subsidiaries, and it is not expected to impact the credit ratings of the company.”

Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Great-West said it also took a restructuring charge of C$45 million related to the money manager.

Putnam said this week it plans to cut 260 jobs, or 11 percent of its work force, adding to a wave of layoffs in the hard-hit fund management industry.

$1=$1.25 Canadian Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson; editing by Peter Galloway

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