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American International Group's offices are shown Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008 in New York. (AP)
American International Group's offices are shown Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008 in New York. (AP)

AIG posts loss on sale, charges Add to ...

Bailed-out insurer American International Group lost more than $2-billion (U.S.) in the third quarter because of charges and losses from asset sales, and its main insurance businesses turned in mixed results.

AIG said it was on track with a recapitalization plan, expected to close early next year, that will leave it owing the government around $100-billion and leave the U.S. Treasury with a stake of just above 92 per cent in the company.

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As it pursues that deal, though, it is also in the midst of closing a number of asset sales designed to allow it to focus on its life and property and casualty insurance operations. Those asset sales are in most cases leaving it with huge charges, making for unpredictable results.

AIG had warned in August that the sale of a majority stake in American General Finance to Fortress Investment Group would lead to a $1.9-billion pretax loss. Although the sale price was not disclosed, it was characterized as a "very small fraction" of the value of the business.

The company also took a $1.3-billion goodwill impairment in the quarter for the sale of Japanese life insurance businesses AIG Star and AIG Edison to Prudential Financial, a deal due to close early next year.

Factoring in those losses and other items, AIG reported a third-quarter loss of $2.4-billion, or $17.62 per share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $455-million, or 68 cents per share.

Operating results, stripping out extraordinary items and discontinued operations, came in at a loss of $200-million, or $1.47 per share.

The two analysts reporting estimates to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had earnings-per-share forecasts of 58 cents and $1.35.

AIG's ongoing operations after its global asset sales mostly consist of general insurer Chartis and U.S. life insurer and retirement services provider SunAmerica Financial Group.

Chartis' operating income in the third quarter rose 53 per cent to $1.1-billion, as underwriting income increased and it consolidated the results of Japanese insurer Fuji Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Without Fuji, AIG said, net premiums written fell for Chartis in the quarter.

SunAmerica's operating income fell 18.5 per cent to $978-million on lower net investment income, although the company sold more life insurance in the period.

Shares of AIG were down 1.7 per cent at $44 in trading before the market opened.

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