Manulife profits rise 45 per cent in fourth quarter but core earnings dip slightly

·2 min read

TORONTO — Manulife Financial Corp. says its fourth-quarter profits rose 45 per cent from a year ago, as gains from interest rates and bond sales offset lower volumes of new business during the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

The insurer and financial services company says its net income attributed to shareholders was $1.78 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020, up from $1.23 billion in the same period of 2019.

The fourth-quarter report says Manulife's diluted earnings amounted to 89 cents per common share, up from 61 cents per common share in the last three months of 2019.

Adjusted or "core" profits for the three months ended Dec. 31 were $1.47 billion or 74 cents per share, compared with $1.48 billion or 73 cents per share in the prior year.

The results were better than the $1.41 billion in adjusted net income, or 72 cents per share, expected by analysts polled by financial data firm Refinitiv.

Manulife says for the full year of 2020 it had revenue of $78.9 billion, down from $79.6 billion in 2019 but above the $75.2 billion expected on average by analysts.

The Toronto-based company, which has more than 37,000 employees across the world, says it has been working on cutting expenses and expanding its footprint in Asia through partnerships with banks in Indonesia and Vietnam.

Executives also highlighted collaboration with Amazon in the U.S., where Manulife subsidiary John Hancock gave free wearable health trackers to life insurance customers.

"The events of the past year have reinforced the value of insurance, well-being, retirement and wealth management programs, and the products and services we provide," said chief executive Roy Gori in a statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2021.

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The Canadian Press