(Bloomberg) — MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer, reported a 35 percent increase in first-quarter profit amid derivatives gains and international growth. The stock declined in extended trading as results missed analysts’ estimates.
Net income rose to $1.33 billion from $986 million a year earlier, New York-based MetLife said today in a statement. Operating profit, which excludes some investing results, was $1.37 a share, 3 cents below the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 18 analysts.
Chief Executive Officer Steve Kandarian, 62, has turned to markets outside the U.S. to boost profits as he scales back from some capital-intensive businesses. The insurer added Chilean pension provider AFP Provida SA last year, after the acquisition in 2010 of American Life Insurance Co., which had operations in 50 countries.
“MetLife is shifting its business mix to products with lower capital requirements,” Jay Gelb, an analyst at Barclays Plc, said in an April 16 research note. “MetLife views emerging markets business as attractive despite near-term volatility. There is some near-term currency translation risk.”
MetLife slipped 1.1 percent to $51.75 at 4:59 p.m. in New York. The company has declined 2.9 percent this year, compared with the 12 percent drop of Prudential Financial Inc., the No. 2 U.S. life insurer. Results were released after the close of regular trading.
Net investment income was little changed at about $5.1 billion. Book value, a measure of assets minus liabilities, rose to $56.65 per share on March 31 from $53.04 three months earlier.
MetLife recorded $78 million in gains tied to derivatives, compared with a loss of $591 million a year earlier. The insurer uses the contracts to guard against fluctuations in currency values and interest rates.
Operating profit at the retail segment in the Americas declined about 2 percent to $612 million on underwriting results. The region’s segment for group, voluntary and worksite benefits saw profit slump 18 percent to $188 million.