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Sun Life Financial Q1 Profit Rises - Update

Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF, SLF.TO) reported Thursday a higher first-quarter profit, citing favourable equity market performance and increased interest rates, particularly in the U.S. However, total revenues were down from the prior year.

Dean Connor, president and chief executive officer of the company said, "Our results for the first quarter of 2012 reflect both solid underlying business performance and the impact of favourable equity markets and higher interest rates as we continue to execute on our refocused strategy."

Canadian operations posted total operating net income of C$239 million, lower than C$245 million a year ago. Total operating net income from its U.S. Operations surged to C$433 million from C$184 million in the preceding year. In the company's Asian operations, individual life sales grew 27 percent.

As at March 31, 2012, total assets under management was higher in the sequential fourth quarter and from the year-ago quarter.

In the first quarter, common shareholders' net income increased to C$686 million or C$1.15 per share from C$438 million or C$0.73 per share last year.

Operating net income was C$727 million, higher than the prior year's C$472 million. Excluding the net impact of market factors, operating net income was C$357 million for the latest quarter.

Operating earnings per share were C$1.22, higher than C$0.82 per share in the preceding year. On average, 14 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings per share of C$0.74 for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.

However, total revenues declined to C$3.14 billion from C$4.20 billion in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted revenues were C$5 billion, compared to C$5.06 billion a year earlier. Analysts estimated revenues of C$5.77 billion for the quarter.

Net premium revenues were C$2.07 billion, lower than C$2.43 billion a year ago. Total premiums and deposits increased to C$25.3 billion from C$20.08 billion a year ago.

The board also declared a quarterly shareholder dividend of C$0.36 per share, maintaining the current quarterly dividend. This dividend is payable on June 29, to shareholders of record on May 30, 2012.

SLF is currently trading at $22.51, up $0.43 or 1.95 percent, on a volume of 238 thousand shares on the NYSE.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, the shares trade at C$22.47, up 1.54 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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