Sun Life Profit Beats Analysts’ Estimates on Asia Bounce

Sun Life Financial Inc., Canada’s third-largest insurer, reported first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as sales in Asia increased.

Net income fell 25 percent to C$513 million ($511 million), or 85 cents a share, from C$686 million, or C$1.15, a year earlier, the Toronto-based firm said today in a statement. Excluding some one-time items, profit was 94 cents a share, compared with the 66-cent average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“Our results reflect strong execution against our four pillar strategy, including product and distribution enhancements over the past year, and more favorable market conditions,” Chief Executive Officer Dean Connor, 56, said in the statement.

Sun Life’s Asia unit reported operating net income of C$51 million, a 76 percent increase from a year earlier, according to the statement. Insurance sales more than doubled and wealth sales more than quadrupled in the Philippines from the same period in 2012, the firm said.

Sun Life, owner of Boston-based money manager MFS Investment Management, agreed to sell its U.S. annuities business in December to a firm owned by Guggenheim Partners LLC shareholders for $1.35 billion, cutting the insurer’s equity and interest-rate risk. The company said the deal will be completed in the next three months.

The insurer gained 0.5 percent to C$29.57 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The shares have climbed 12 percent this year, outpacing the 4.7 percent advance of the 44-company Standard & Poor’s/TSX Financials Index.