Sales were strong but profits were soft during the third quarter at Jefferson-Pilot Corp.[@@[

Jefferson-Pilot, Greensboro, N.C., is reporting $131 million in net income for the latest quarter on $1 billion in revenue, compared with $134 million in net income on $1 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2004.

Although profits were down slightly and fixed annuity sales fell to $263 million, from $312 million, wider spreads between the rates Jefferson-Pilot earned on its own investments and the rates it paid to annuity customers helped increase annuity profits.

Sales of individual life products increased to $80 million, from $48 million, and sales of group life, disability and dental products increased to $58 million, from $47 million, the company says.