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MetLife eyes summer for submitting plans on retail unit spinoff

Chairman and CEOSteve Kandarian said the company will submit plans to separate its retailbusiness from the company some time this summer.

Kandarian,speaking on a conference call to discuss first-quarter earnings, said MetLife has not yet decidedwhether to do an IPO, a spinoff or conduct a sale of its retail unit. Inresponse to ongoing market and regulatory pressures, the insurer in January that wouldseparate out a substantial portion of its U.S. retail business.

Kandariandeclined to discuss any company capital actions, including share buybacks,before the company files a registration statement. Once MetLife knows moreabout what direction it is taking with regard to the retail business, andsometime after the filing, "we'll have greater clarity and we'll make adecision at that point in time as to what we can or should say regarding sharerepurchases," he said. Kandarian had announced in that the company was haltingshare repurchases until it decides how to proceed with the breakup.

TheCEO told analysts on the May 5 call that there still may not be final clarityon its capital needs by the company's planned investor day event. MetLife will be able toprovide a better picture on its capital strategy once it actually makes good onthe planned separation, but that action likely won't be completed by theNovember event, Kandarian acknowledged.