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Aflac Profit Doubles as Investment Losses Narrow

Tuesday, 24 April 2012 04:38 PM

Aflac Inc., the world’s biggest seller of supplemental health insurance, said first-quarter profit doubled as investment results improved.

Net income increased to $785 million, or $1.68 a share, from $389 million, or 83 cents, a year earlier, the Columbus, Georgia-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Operating profit, which excludes some investment results, was $1.74 a share, beating the $1.65 average estimate of 19 analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

Aflac, which uses a talking duck mascot to promote policies, has said it’s cutting back investments in European financial firms amid the region’s debt crisis. It hired Eric Kirsch from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in September to manage a portfolio of about $100 billion.

“The concentration in European financials is extraordinarily high, although it’s come down,” Steven Schwartz, a Chicago-based analyst at Raymond James & Associates Inc., said by phone before the results were announced. Investors are watching “the investment portfolio in Europe and what they’re planning to do now that this new guy Kirsch is running the investment operation.”

Aflac has declined 2.9 percent this year on the New York Stock Exchange, compared with the 7.9 percent gain of the 24- company KBW Insurance Index. Results were released after the close of regular trading.

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Tuesday, 24 April 2012 04:38 PM
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