NU Online News Service, Nov. 3, 2003, 5:31 p.m. EST – Principal Financial Group Inc., Des Moines, Iowa, says solid results at its life insurance and asset management operations helped it overcome the effects of rising interest rates on its mortgage banking unit during the third quarter.

The company is reporting $216 million in net income for the latest quarter on $2.3 billion in revenue, up from a net loss of $158 million on $2 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2002.

Principal reported a big net loss for the third quarter of 2002 because of $201 million in losses at mutual fund operations in Australia and New Zealand that it has since sold. The company’s operating income, which excludes the losses on the discontinued operations and other unusual gains and charges, inched up to $204 million, from $202 million.

Rising U.S. interest rates depressed activity at the mortgage banking unit. It is reporting $29 million in operating earnings for the third quarter on $288 million in operating revenue, down from $62 million in operating earnings on $313 million in revenue for the comparable quarter in 2002.

At the life and health unit, the operating profit was down slightly but revenue increased to $996 million, from $988 million. At the U.S. asset-management unit, operating earnings increased to $110 million on $872 million in revenue, from $85 million on $866 million in revenue.