MetLife Inc.’s had a difficult year, but its first-quarter financial results may offer some solace.
The insurer posted adjusted profit of $1.36 a share, beating analysts’ estimates and pushing shares higher in extended trading. MetLife benefited from tax code changes and gains in operating profit at its U.S., Asia, and Europe, Middle East and Africa businesses, the New York-based company said Wednesday in a statement.
“MetLife had a very good first quarter driven by favorable underwriting, volume growth, and the effects of tax reform,” Chief Executive Officer Steven Kandarian said in the statement.
The company has been working to fix deficiencies after reporting it was unable to locate about 13,500 people owed pension payments, an admission that spurred a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation. MetLife also disclosed in March that there was a material weakness in controls tied to a block of Japanese variable annuities.
That led Wells Fargo & Co. analyst Sean Dargan to describe MetLife’s story as being about “management credibility” and Evercore Inc.’s Tom Gallagher to say that the insurer needs stability and a lack of bad news to restore confidence.
On Tuesday, the company said Chief Financial Officer John Hele was stepping down and would be replaced by Treasurer John McCallion. Evercore’s Gallagher called McCallion a “solid choice.”
MetLife shares gained 2.6% to $46.20 at 4:49 p.m. in New York. The stock fell 11% this year through the end of Wednesday’s regular trading.
Net income rose 44% to $1.25 billion, or $1.19 a share, from $867 million, or 79 cents, a year earlier, according to the statement. Adjusted profit, which excludes some items, was $1.36 a share, beating the $1.17 average estimate of 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.