TOKYO (dpa-AFX) - Shares of Insurer Aflac Inc. (AFL) gained more than 5 percent in extended trade on Tuesday after the company reported a profit for the first quarter that doubled from last year. The results reflect narrower investment losses and strong policy sales in Japan. A strong yen also contributed to the results.
Aflac Japan's total revenues in yen were up 7.8 percent in the quarter. New annualized premium sales rose 53.8 percent to 52.4 billion yen. In dollar terms, Aflac Japan's total revenues increased 12 percent to $4.9 billion.
Meanwhile, Aflac U.S. total revenues rose 5.2 percent to $1.4 billion. Premium income increased 5.2 percent and net investment income grew 5.5 percent. Aflac U.S. total new annualized premium sales increased 4.5 percent from last year to $351 million.
Daniel Amos, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aflac said, 'Aflac Japan gets high marks for another great quarter. The tremendous sales momentum they again generated this quarter was largely propelled by success in selling through banks. Aflac Japan's first quarter production set an all-time new annualized premium sales record for the third quarter in a row.'
Aflac's first-quarter net earnings were $785 million or $1.68 per share, up from $389 million, or $0.83 per share in the year-ago period.
The latest quarter's results include after-tax net realized investment losses, net of realized investment gains, of $29 million or $0.06 per share. This compares to net after-tax losses of $376 million or $0.79 per share in the year-ago period.
Excluding items, operating earnings rose to $814 million or $1.74 per share from $765 million or $1.62 per share in the same period last year.
On average, 20 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $1.65 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
Revenues rose 21.9 percent to $6.24 billion from $5.12 billion in the year-ago period, reflecting the benefit from a stronger yen/dollar exchange rate. Analysts had a consensus revenue estimate for the quarter of $6.20 billion.
The company's board declared a second-quarter cash dividend of $0.33 per share, payable on June 1 to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 16.
Looking ahead to fiscal 2012, Aflac now forecasts operating earnings of $6.46 to $6.65 per share before the impact of foreign currency translation. This range represents 3 to 6 percent increase over 2011 as restated for the change in deferred acquisitions costs, or DAC accounting, compared with the prior forecast for 2 percent to 5 percent growth.
Analysts expect the company to report earnings of $6.48 per share for the year.
The company now expect Aflac Japan's full-year sales to increase 10 percent, compared with its previous expectation of a sales decline of 2 percent to 5 percent.
AFL closed Tuesday's trading at $42.00, up $0.64 or 1.55 percent on a volume of 4.97 million shares. In after-hours, the stock further gained $2.29 or 5.45 percent to $44.29.
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