May 13, 2009 / 3:26 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Power Corp profit falls as subsidiary weighs

* First-quarter EPS C$0.31 vs C$0.80

* Operating EPS C$0.39 vs C$0.64

* Subsidiary’s lower profits weigh on results (Adds details)

TORONTO, May 13 (Reuters) - Power Corp of Canada (POW.TO) said on Wednesday its profit fell 60 percent in the first quarter as a key operating subsidiary posted weaker results.

The Montreal-based holding company said net income was C$151 million ($129 million), or 31 Canadian cents a share, in the three months ended March 31. That compared with C$376 million, or 80 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier.

Power Corp, controlled by Montreal’s Desmarais family, said operating earnings were C$189 million, or 39 Canadian cents a share, down from C$304 million, or 64 Canadian cents a share.

Analysts had expected earnings of 45 Canadian cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

The company owns 66 percent of Power Financial Corp (PWF.TO), which in turn controls insurance company Great-West Lifeco (GWO.TO) and mutual fund company IGM Financial (IGM.TO). The latter two companies reported lower quarterly profits earlier this month.

On Tuesday, Power Financial said its net income for the quarter fell 67 percent.

Power Corp said it took a charge of C$38 million, or 8 Canadian cents a share, on its share of non-operating results from Power Financial. That compared with earnings of C$72 million, or 16 Canadian cents, from Power Financial a year-earlier.

Power Corp said the lower contribution from Power Financial was partly offset by a higher level of income from investments resulting from the disposal of its investment in Virochem Pharma Inc.

Power Corp also owns Gesca Ltee, which publishes magazines, books and newspapers, including the Montreal daily newspaper La Presse.

$1=$1.17 Canadian Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; editing by Rob Wilson

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