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Great-West Life chairman Raymond McFeetors is reflected in a sign after the annual meeting in 2006.

Power Financial Corp. said its profits increased 23 per cent to $455-million during the first quarter on gains from the disposal of two European assets.

The company's profit attributable to common shareholders amounted to 64 cents per share for the period ended March 31, up from 52 cents per share in the prior year.

Power Financial's holdings include controlling interests in Great-West Lifeco Inc. which makes up its insurance business, and IGM Financial Inc. one of Canada's largest mutual fund companies.

The results included an $83-million contribution, mainly from the partial sale of wine and spirit producer Pernod Ricard and the disposal of French chemicals producer Arkema.

Excluding these items and a $2-million charge last year, Power earned $372-million or 52 cents per share, the same as in the 2011 period.

Overall, Power Financial earned $712-million in profits attributable to common, preferred and non-controlling interests in the first quarter, compared to $616-million in the prior year.

Revenues grew 2.8 per cent to $7.1-billion, up from $6.9-billion last year. They included $4.5-billion in net premiums, compared to $4.3-billion.

Great-West Lifeco Inc. profits increased 8.4 per cent to $451-million, or 47.5 cents per share. That compared to $415-million or 43.8 cents per share in the prior year.

The 2011 results included the impact of Power Financial's $53-million share of after-tax provisions for earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand. Its contribution to Power Financial's operating earnings was $306-million, compared with $284-million a year earlier.

IGM Financial Inc. earned $200-million or 78 cents per share, down 3.7 per cent from $211-million or 81 cents per share in the prior year. Its contribution to Power Financial's operating earnings was $114-million, compared with $121-million for the corresponding period in 2011.

Power Financial's contribution from its interest in Europe's Pargesa was a charge of $2-million, compared with $4-million of earnings in the prior year.

Power Financial declared a quarterly dividend of 35 cents per common share, payable Aug. 1 to shareholders of record June 29.