International financial services group Manulife Financial has exceeded its earnings target of $4 billion in 2016, benefiting from a strong Asian performance to achieve expectation-beating results.
The company has reported 2016 earnings amounting to $4.02 billion, which translates to $1.96 per share, according to a report from Reuters. This was a significant comeback from the previous year, when they eked out $3.43 million, or $1.68 per share. On average, market analysts had expected earnings of $1.85 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“Earlier in the year I was not sure that we would achieve that and that's a real landmark for the company,” said Chief Financial Officer Steve Roder, alluding to a company statement last February warning that weak oil prices and other factors would make the target hard to hit. Subsequently, a partial recovery in oil prices and improved performance among its fixed-income investments improved its prospects.
Also driving the growth were investment gains of $197 million and a 27% uptick in sales in the company’s Asia business compared to 2015. A partnership with Singapore’s DBS Group, along with a growing Asian middle class that wants to save and invest, has been beneficial for the company.
“Underlying earnings growth remained impressive, particularly in Asia, which should continue to fuel a positive outlook,” said Barclays Capital analyst John Aiken.
Manulife has declared an 11% increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.205 per share.
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