NU Online News Service, April 15, 2004, 5:57 p.m. EDT – Life insurance and annuities contributed to an increase in first-quarter earnings at Citigroup Inc., New York.[@@]

Citigroup as a whole is reporting $5.3 billion in net income for the latest quarter on $21.5 billion in revenue, up from $4.1 billion in net income on $18.5 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2003.

At the life and annuities unit, revenue increased 14%, to $1.3 billion, and net income increased 18%, to $287 million.

Net written premiums and deposits fell 25% for institutional annuities, to $1.6 billion, but net written premiums and deposits soared 50% for variable annuities, to $1.2 billion.

The life and annuities unit let the percentage of AAA bonds in its investment portfolio fall to 23%, from 27%, but the percentage of bonds with A and AA ratings increased to 34%, from 31%.

Charles Prince, Citigroup’s chief executive, says his company is preparing for an economic rebound.

“We expect interest rates to increase,” Prince says. “We have positioned the company to benefit as rates rise in the medium to long term.”