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Great-West Lifeco posts lower net earnings YOY in Q1

Great-WestLifeco Inc. reported first-quarter net earnings attributable tocommon shareholders of C$620 million, or 62.3 Canadian cents, down from C$700million, or 70 cents per share, in the prior-year quarter.

The S&P Capital IQ consensus EPS estimate for the firstquarter was 70 cents.

Total net premiums for the quarter stood at C$7.02 billion,an increase from C$6.93 billion in the year-ago quarter. Total net investmentincome reached C$4.08 billion, up from C$4.49 billion.

Book value per common share was C$19.29 as of March 31,compared with C$20.07 as of Dec. 31, 2015, and C$17.68 as of March 31, 2015.

Great-West Lifeco sales climbed 73% year over year in thefirst quarter to C$48.0 billion.

In Canada, strong sales in both group and individualinsurance resulted in total sales of C$3.3 billion in the first quarter,compared with C$3.2 billion a year ago.

In the U.S., large plan sales that boosted EmpowerRetirement helped Great-West Financial sales climb to US$20.3 billion in thefirst quarter from US$8.0 billion in the year-ago quarter. A new client withmore than 200,000 participants was the reason for approximately 90% of thein-quarter Great-West Financial sales increase.

In Europe, insurance and annuities sales rose to C$4.6billion from C$4.5 billion, which included the acquisition of The EquitableLife Assurance Society's U.K. annuity business.