Great-West Lifeco Inc., one of the main businesses within the Power group of companies and one of Canada's largest life insurance providers, says its fourth-quarter net income fell to $353 million.
That amounted to 37.2 cents per share on a diluted basis, down from 65.1 cents per share or $624 million in the comparable period of 2011.
Its operating income, a non-standard measure of profit watched by analysts, was $493 million or 52 cents per share -- down slightly from 52.8 cents per share or $500 million a year earlier but in line with analyst estimates.
The Winnipeg company is a publicly traded subsidiary of Montreal-based Power Financial Corp. and its parent Power Corporation of Canada, which also own control the Investors Group, Mackenzie and Putnam investment managers.
Canada accounted for more than half of Great-West's fourth-quarter profit. In the fourth quarter, the Canadian operations earned $263 million, up from $244 in the year-earlier period.
The U.S. operations saw a slight decrease in profit attributable to shareholders, dropping by $2 million to $77 million from $79 million -- all due to the Putnam part of its business, which offset an increase at the Great-West Financial unit.
In Europe, Great-West Life's net income attributable to common shareholders fell to $152 million, down from $181 million.
Lifeco Corporate posted a $139 million net loss, compared with $120 million in net earnings in the fourth quarter of 2011. The loss included $140 million of litigation provision in the fourth quarter of 2012 and $124 million of provision releases a year earlier.
Shares in Great-West were up 11 cents to $26.08 in afternoon trading Thursday.
-- The Canadian Press