GreatWest Lifeco reports 710million Q4 profit raises dividend

The Canadian Press WINNIPEG — Great-West Lifeco Inc. raised its dividend as it reported a fourth-quarter profit of $710 million.The life insurer says it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 41.3 cents per share, up from 38.9 cents.The increased payment to shareholders came as Great-West says its profit amounted to 72 cents per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31.That compared with a profit of $392 million or 40 cents per share in the same quarter a year earlier when the company took a $342-million charge related to U.S. tax changes, the disposal of an investment and restructuring costs.On an adjusted basis, Great-West says it earned 72 cents per share for its most recent quarter compared with a profit of 74 cents per share a year ago.Analysts on average had expected earnings per share of 74 cents during the quarter, according to those surveyed by Thomson Reuters Eikon.Great-West chief executive Paul Mahon says he was pleased with the company’s performance in 2018 overall, as it saw growth across its Canadian, U.S. and European segments.“We enter 2019 with significant excess capital, which will be further bolstered by $1.6 billion from the sale of our U.S. life and annuity business,” he said in a statement.“This positions us to actively consider acquisition opportunities to drive growth and long-term value. In addition, we are considering other capital management activities to mitigate the earnings impact from the sale of our U.S. business.” Companies in this story: (TSX:GWO)