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Sun Life Financial First-Quarter Profit Rises on U.S. Units

May 4 (Bloomberg) -- Sun Life Financial Inc., Canada’s third-biggest insurer, said profit rose 5.8 percent in the first quarter on higher earnings at its U.S. businesses.

Net income climbed to C$438 million ($457 million) or 73 cents a share, from C$414 million, or 70 cents a year earlier, the Toronto-based insurer said today in a statement.

Sun Life said profit from U.S. insurance surged 49 percent to C$180 million because of gains tied to equity markets. Earnings at its Boston-based MFS Investment Management business climbed 27 percent to C$62 million, with the unit posting a record $232 billion in assets under management.

Excluding one-time items, Sun Life earned 79 cents a share. That compares with the 67 cent-a-share estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Profit from Canadian operations rose 7.8 percent to C$250 million, while its Asian business jumped to C$44 million from C$4 million a year ago.

This quarter is the first in which Sun Life reported according to International Financial Reporting Standards, an accounting process that changes the impact of hedging and other expenses.

Sun Life fell 19 cents to C$30.73 in trading today on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The shares have risen 2.1 percent this year, compared with a 5.7 percent gain on the 43-member S&P/TSX Financials Index.

Manulife Financial Corp. and Great-West Lifeco Inc., Canada’s two largest insurers, are scheduled to release first-quarter results tomorrow.

(Sun Life will hold a conference call tomorrow at 10 a.m. Toronto time to discuss results. To listen, dial +1-416-644-3417 or +1-877-974-0446.)

Related News and Information: Top Canadian news: {TOPC <GO>} Top insurance news: {TINS <GO>}

To contact the reporter on this story: Sean B. Pasternak in Toronto at spasternak@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net; Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net.

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