Canada Stockwatch – Manulife Financial Corp. (TSE:MFC, Mkt cap 45.57B, P/E 12.89, Div/yield 0.17/2.94, EPS 1.79, Shares 1.97B) has said it will continue to seek out acquisition and partnership opportunities, despite reporting a lower profit in the first quarter, Reuters reports.
Since the turn of the year, Manulife, Canada’s largest insurer, has signalled its intent to expand its reach with a number of major investments, including a near $4 billion deal for the Canadian operations of the British insurer Standard Life.
It has also acquired New York Life Insurance Co’s retirement services business, while a $1.2 billion deal with Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings Ltd for a 15-year partnership will allow it to make a name for itself in Asia.
While the deals have prompted a rise in assets under management to $821 billion, they appear have taken a toll on its bottom line with net profit falling to $723 million, or 36 cents a share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with $818 million, or 42 cents a share, 12 months ago.
However, the Toronto-based company still managed to raise its quarterly dividend, which chief financial officer Steve Roder said reflects a “very strong year”.
“We will continue to look at opportunities that may be available if they match the interests of our shareholders to provide core earnings growth over the medium term,” Roder added in an interview.
Core profit, meanwhile, increased to 39 cents a share, from 37 cents a share a year earlier.
Analysts, on average, had forecast earnings of 42 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
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