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Aflac posts YOY increase in Q1 net earnings

Aflac Inc.on April 26 reported first-quarter net earnings of $731 million, or $1.74 per share,compared with $663 million, or $1.51 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Net earnings in the first quarter of 2016 included $50 million,or 12 cents per share, of after-tax net realized investment gains from securitiestransactions and impairments, compared with net after-tax gains of $40 million,or 10 cents per share, a year ago. Included in the net investment gains in the quarterare after-tax impairment losses of $10 million, or 2 cents per share. Hedging costsrelated to certain dollar investments of Aflac Japan on an after-tax basis were$29 million in the quarter, or 7 cents per share. Realized after-tax net investmentgains from other derivative and hedging activities in the quarter were $12 million,or 3 cents per share. In addition, net earnings included a loss of $28 million,or 7 cents per share, from other and nonrecurring items.

Operating earnings in the quarter were $726 million, or $1.73per share, compared with $678 million, or $1.54 per share, a year earlier.

The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate forthe quarter was $1.63.

Included in first-quarter operating earnings is an adjustmentof $8 million after-tax, or 2 cents per share, accelerating the recognition of stockcompensation expense associated with retirement-eligible employees. The strongeryen-dollar exchange rate increased operating EPS by 3 cents for the first quarter.Excluding the impact from the stronger yen, operating EPS increased 10.4%.

Total revenues grew to $5.45 billion from $5.23 billion in theyear-ago quarter.

In the first quarter, Aflac Japan's total new annualized premiumsales rose 15.5% to $271 million. Third sector sales, which include cancer and medicalproducts, increased 1.0% to $158.6 million. First sector sales, which include WAYSand child endowment, increased 45.0% to $112.3 million. Aflac U.S. total new annualizedpremium sales increased 3.7% in the quarter to $328 million.

Chairman and CEO Daniel Amos said in the news release that thecompany continues to expectlong-term compound annual growth rate of 4% to 6%, Aflac U.S. new annualized premiumgrowth in the range of 3% to 5% and the repurchase of $1.4 billion of its shares.The CEO also reiterated the company's objective to produce operating EPS of $6.17to $6.41.

The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate for2016 is $6.52.