(Fixes dateline to Nov 18)
* Bought deal offering at C$19.00/shr
* Says common equity issue likely dilutive to EPS and ROE
* Shares closed up 0.9 percent at C$20.18 prior to news
TORONTO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Manulife Financial Corp MFC.TO, North America’s top life insurer, said late on Wednesday it would issue some C$2.5 billion ($2.4 billion) in shares in a bought deal financing meant to give it fortress level reserve capital and position itself for acquisitions.
Manulife said it sold the equity at C$19.00 per share in a deal with a syndicate of underwriters led by the investment dealer arms of Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO and Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO.
Prior to the announcement, Manulife shares closed up 0.9 percent at C$20.18 on the Toronto stock exchange on Wednesday.
“We believe this transaction achieves the fortress level of capital necessary to buffer against more conservative economic scenarios and to position us to take advantage of highly attractive acquisition and growth opportunities,” Chief Executive Donald Guloien said in a statement.
The company said the common equity issue will likely be dilutive to its earnings per share and return on equity.
Manulife said earlier this month it had a third-quarter loss as lower corporate bond yields and a change to actuarial assumptions offset stock market gains.
The Toronto-based company reported a net loss of C$172 million ($162 million), or 12 Canadian cents a share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with earnings of C$510 million, or 33 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier.
$1=$1.05 Canadian Reporting by Pav Jordan; editing by Rob Wilson