MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer, projected 2013 earnings that were below analysts’ estimates as lower interest rates weigh on results.
Next year’s operating profit, which excludes some investment results, will be $4.95 to $5.35 a share, the New York-based company said in a statement. That compares with the average estimate of $5.48 among 19 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Chief Executive Officer Steven Kandarian, 60, is looking outside the U.S. for growth and cutting back on capital-intensive products such as variable annuities as he works to raise return on equity to at least 12 percent by 2016. U.S. regulators approved MetLife’s sale of bank deposits Wednesday, easing a path to raising dividends and repurchasing shares.
“While our operating earnings per share are expected to be lower in 2013 than in 2012, they are broadly consistent with what we predicted a year ago for an extended low interest rate environment,” Kandarian said in the statement.
MetLife advanced 7.8 percent this year through yesterday, trailing the KBW Insurance Index’s 15 percent climb. The firm’s dividend has been 74 cents a year since 2007.
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