MetLife posts 3Q profit on investment gains

AP News
Posted: Oct 28, 2010 5:41 PM
MetLife posts 3Q profit on investment gains

MetLife Inc. said Thursday that easing investment losses helped push its third-quarter results into the black.

The performance nevertheless missed Wall Street expectations, as the New York-based life insurer raised capital for its $15.5 billion purchase of American Life Insurance Co., or Alico.

Shares of MetLife slipped 3 percent to $39.17 in after-hours trading.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, MetLife earned $286 million, or 32 cents per share. That's compared with a loss of $650 million, or 79 cents per share, in the same period last year when the company was slammed by investment losses.

Operating earnings, which do not include one-time investment gains and losses, were 99 cents per share. On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of $1.03 per share.

For the quarter, MetLife said total revenue jumped 22 percent to $12.44 billion from $10.24 billion.

That included a net investment loss of $342 million, an improvement from the $732 million loss a year ago. Net derivative losses were $244 million, down from $1.41 billion in losses a year ago.

MetLife uses derivatives to hedge its exposure to risks, such as changes in interest rates and fluctuations in foreign currencies. Movements in those arenas cause gains and losses on derivatives for MetLife.

Revenue from premiums slipped slightly to $6.56 billion from $6.6 billion.

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Meanwhile, fees for universal life and investment-type products rose 16 percent to $1.45 billion from $1.25 billion, while investment income rose 12 percent to $4.39 billion from $3.92 billion.

During the quarter, MetLife raised more than $6 billion by issuing common shares and senior debt to fund its purchase of Alico from the insurance giant American International Group Inc.

Alico, which operates in more than 50 countries, is expected to help MetLife expand in Japan, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. MetLife, the largest life insurer in the U.S., currently offers services in 17 countries.