Manulife reports 45 per cent leap in quarterly earnings

Canadian life insurance giant reveals eye-catching figures for the first quarter of 2016

Already established as the biggest life insurer in Canada, Manulife shows no signs of slowing down internationally after reporting some eye-catching figures for the first quarter of 2016.

The company announced a surge in net income of 45 per cent for the three months ending March 31, 2016 with net income attributed to shareholders reaching $1,045 million, the equivalent of 51 cents per share: a leap from $723 million and 36 cents per share one year earlier. This was despite a decline in insurance sales in Canada.

Speaking about the results, Donald Guloien, president and chief executive officer of Manulife, described the quarter as “strong”.

“Core earnings grew by 14 per cent from the prior year – despite zero contribution from investment gains during the quarter - a testimony to the strong operating performance from our operations around the world,” he said in a statement. “We are also delivering excellent results from our DBS, Standard Life and New York Life transactions; managing our equity exposure exceedingly well, even in highly volatile markets; and achieved our 25th consecutive quarter of positive net flows into our global Wealth and Asset Management businesses.

“Net income was up 45 per cent, as a result of a variety of market-related gains, which more than offset depressed oil and gas prices in the quarter, serving as a useful reminder that markets will fluctuate both in our favour and against us, but we should focus on long-term positioning and shareholder wealth creation rather than short-term market fluctuations.”

Steve Roder, the company’s chief financial officer, was also buoyant about the results highlighting a 70 per cent increase in new business value.

At the heart of the company’s gains was the activation of a bancassurance partnership with DBS in Hong Kong and Singapore. Overall insurance sales leapt by 14 per cent to reach $954 million – although Canadian insurance sales slipped 28 per cent as normal variability in large-case group benefits sales more than offset strong retail insurance sales.