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The Globe and Mail

Great-West Lifeco profit jumps on one-time gain

Allen Loney, president and CEO of Great-West Lifeco.

Jim Ross/The Canadian Press/Jim Ross/The Canadian Press

Great-West Lifeco Inc., Canada's No. 2 insurer, said its profit jumped 34 per cent in the fourth quarter, boosted by funds that were freed up from a reserve that had been set aside for litigation.

Winnipeg -based Great-West, which is 72-per-cent owned by Power Financial Corp., earned $624-million, or 65 cents a share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a year-before profit of $465-million, or 49 cents.

The result was in line with analysts' expectations for a per-share profit of 49 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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Net profit was helped by a $124-million reduction in litigation provisions originally taken in 2010.

Great-West, which operates under the Canada Life, London Life and Putnam Investments banners, is the only Canadian insurer expected to turn a profit this quarter, as competitors are seen reeling from one-time charges and the impact of weak markets.

Earlier on Thursday, rival Manulife Financial Corp. said it fell to a quarterly loss due to weaker sales and a big writedown.

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