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MetLife Posts Bigger Quarterly Profit

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NEW YORK (AP) — MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer, said Tuesday its profit climbed in the fourth quarter on higher premium revenue and gains from derivatives.

MetLife earned $1.13 billion, or $1.06 per share, in the latest quarter. The company took more than $1 billion in losses on derivatives in the fourth quarter of 2010, and reported a profit of $51 million, or 5 cents per share. Excluding one-time items, MetLife reported an operating profit of $1.31 per share in the latest quarter. Its total revenue grew 32 percent, to $16.75 billion from $12.69 billion.

Analysts expected the company to report a profit of $1.24 per share and $16.93 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

While MetLife lost more than $1 billion in the final quarter of 2010 on derivatives, in the most recent quarter it reported $351 million in derivate net gains. The company said those gains resulted from lower interest rates and from a variable annuity hedging program. MetLife’s total investment revenue grew 11 percent to $4.94 billion.

Premium and fee revenue rose 23 percent to $11.5 billion. MetLife bought Alico, or American Life Insurance, from American International Group Inc. in November 2010 for $15.5 billion. MetLife said the purchase of Alico bolstered its international revenue, and it also reported more revenue from U.S. insurance.

For all of 2011 MetLife said its profit grew to $6.71 billion, or $6.29 per share, from $2.67 billion, or $3 per share. Revenue rose 34 percent to $70.26 billion from $52.27 billion.

MetLife shares fell 36 cents to close at $37.32.